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PinkMonkey.com Digital Library - PinkMonkey.com-A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen


wholly unprotected in Germany, Ibsen could not prevent managers from altering the
end of the play to suit their taste and fancy. He was thus driven, under protest, to write
an alternative ending, in which, at the last moment, the thought of her children
restrained Nora from leaving home. He preferred, as he said, ďto commit the outrage
himself, rather than leave his work to the tender mercies of adaptors.Ē The patched-up
ending soon dropped out of use and out of memory. Ibsenís own account of the matter
will be found in his Correspondence, Letter 142.

It took ten years for the play to pass beyond the limits of Scandinavia and Germany.
Madame Modjeska, it is true, presented a version of it in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1883,
but it attracted no attention. In the following year Messrs. Henry Arthur Jones and
Henry Herman produced at the Prince of Walesís Theatre, London, a play entitled
Breaking a Butterfly, which was described as being ďfounded on Ibsenís Norah,Ē but
bore only a remote resemblance to the original. In this production Mr. Beerbohm Tree
took the part of Dunkley, a melodramatic villain who filled the place of Krogstad. In
1885, again, an adventurous amateur club gave a quaint performance of Miss Lordís
translation of the play at a hall in Argyle Street, London. Not until June 7, 1889, was A
Dollís House competently, and even brilliantly, presented to the English public, by Mr.
Charles Charrington and Miss Janet Achurch, at the Novelty Theatre, London,
afterwards re-named the Kingsway Theatre. It was this production that really made
Ibsen known to the English-speaking peoples. In other words, it marked his second
great stride towards world-wide, as distinct from merely national, renown-if we
reckon as the first stride the success of Pillars of Society in Germany. Mr. and Mrs.
Charrington took A Dollís House with them on a long Australian tour; Miss Beatrice
Cameron (Mrs. Richard Mansfield) was encouraged by the success of the London
production to present the play in New York, whence it soon spread to other American
cities; while in London itself it was frequently revived and vehemently discussed.

The Ibsen controversy, indeed, did not break out in its full virulence until 1891, when
Ghosts and Hedda Gabler were produced in London; but from the date of the Novelty
production onwards, Ibsen was generally recognised as a potent factor in the
intellectual and artistic life of the day.

A French adaptation of Et Dukkehjem was produced in Brussels in March 1889, but
attracted little attention. Not until 1894 was the play introduced to the Parisian public,
at the Gymnase, with Madame Rejane as Nora. This actress has since played the part
frequently, not only in Paris but in London and in America.

In Italian the play was first produced in 1889, and soon passed into the repertory of
Eleonora Duse, who appeared as Nora in London in 1893. Few heroines in modern
drama have been played by so many actresses of the first rank. To those already
enumerated must be added Hedwig Niemann-Raabe and Agnes Sorma in Germany,
and Minnie Maddern-Fiske and Alla Nazimova in America; and, even so, the list is far
from complete. There is probably no country in the world, possessing a theatre on the
European model, in which A Dollís House has not been more or less frequently acted.
Undoubtedly the great attraction of the part of Nora to the average actress was the
tarantella scene. This was a theatrical effect, of an obvious, unmistakable kind. It might
have been-though I am not aware that it ever actually was-made the subject of a
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