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A Doll's House Part 2

By: Lucas Hnath

A Doll’s House Part 2, written by Lucas Hnath, is a modern story inspired by the events of Henrik Ibsen’s 1879 play, A Doll’s House. A Doll’s House Part 2 continues the journey of Nora Helmer 15 years after her divorce from her husband and separation from her children in the struggle to find herself.  The play begins with Nora returning to her former home to get answers on the status of her marriage, which unfortunately for her, is still quite legally intact. Over a series of arguments with her estranged husband Torvald, youngest child Emmy, and longtime caretaker Anne Marie, Nora realizes the impact her absence left on the family. 


Nora’s absence is a main focus for my concept of the set for the Helmer household. When collaborating with the director of this piece we both agreed we envisioned the house being a representation of the consequences of Nora’s actions. My idea was to create a space that was once picturesque for hosting parties and gathering, but since Nora’s departure the house has become a bit run down and scarce due to lack of care. I was very much inspired by peeling wall paper for this show. The idea of the withered house drew connections to the idea of the family falling apart. This also drew me to the thought that the house is also a representation of the old days when the family was blissfully happy together. Now that the family’s surroundings are deteriorating it makes a statement on Torvald’s lack of effort and his lack of meaningful relationships with anyone in his life. The deteriorating nature of the set is shown in my model in numerous ways. The wall paper is peeling and coming off, the windows are bare and dirty, the furniture is scarce, and Nora’s picture frame has been evidently ripped off of the wall. 


Another major design element I focused on was Nora’s feelings of resentment and entrapment she once felt residing in the house. In the original A Doll’s House, Torvald would constantly call Nora pet names such as squirrel or skylark. In A Doll’s House Part 2, Torvald comments on Nora’s book, in which she wrote that she felt trapped and like a caged plaything. I focused on this idea of a caged animal and I placed many vertical lines throughout the set with very few features of smoothness. I wanted there to be a harsh prison feeling from Nora represented in her former home. 


Overall, this design was meant to be a strong representation of the state of a marriage and family falling apart and apparent consequences of the people who have resided within. 


University of Southern Indiana

Mallette Studio Theatre



Director: Brennen Hobson

Set Designer: Jacelyn Stewart

Costumes: Cheyenne Welte

Lights/Sound: Megan Gilbert 

Production Photos


Finalized Sketches

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