Next to Nora

Megan Taylor Seely

Abstract


Henrik Ibsen’s classic play A Doll’s House and Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt’s rock musical Next to Normal were written over a century apart, yet each boldly portrays a woman’s desire to leave her family without berating her decision. The relationship of Natalie, Diana’s daughter, and her classmate Henry parallels the relationship between Mrs. Linde and Krogstad. The mothers in both plays have a somewhat romantic relationship with the doctors of the plays to whom they both tell their secrets, reflected in Dr. Rank’s unrequited love for Nora and Diana’s “intense and very intimate” dance with her psychiatrist. Both plays exhibit Brian Johnston’s idea of three “seismic convulsions” that eventually shatter the home. Next to Normal is A Doll’s House of our generation that continues Nora’s story by choosing to focus on the consequences of the wife’s final action. While the setting, illusion, and final action of both plays are wildly similar, the role of the children in each is radically different, changing the entire perception by the audience. While family dysfunction is accepted as normal, these plays show the danger of living in such a house. A Doll’s House does this by portraying the harm of this life on the wife, Next to Normal by illustrating the harm on the family. Each shows the pain of living a lie and conveys the controversial idea that a woman’s duty, above all else, is to herself.

Keywords


Next to Normal; A Doll's House; Tom Kitt; Brian Yorkey; Henrik Ibsen; Broadway

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15695/vurj.v6i0.2901

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