A doll’s house

Water Tower Theatre, Dallas TX Director Joanie Schultz Scenic Design Chelsea M. Warren Costume Design Melissa Panzarello & Amy Poe Lighting Design Discoll Otto Sound Design Brian McDonald Prop Design Hillary Collazo Abbott Production Photography Jason Anderson

critical response below

Theatre Jones, Jan Farrington: “Some marriages disintegrate at the seams, slowly—each stitch giving way in agonized slow-mo until nothing recognizable remains. Others explode like shrapnel bombs, hurling sharp objects and deadly words at anything, anyone in range. And some go down suddenly, in a quiet whoosh, stripping away illusion to shine a bright white light on the emptiness of what only looked like love… Chelsea Warren’s set design lets us know something’s up before a word is spoken. Her super-scaled painted drapes rise high on the walls and frame the famous exit door of the Helmer home—visually shrinking the frou-frou Victorian furniture into pieces from…well, a doll’s house. Giant Art Nouveau leaves and tendrils fall to the floor, flow across carpets and spill over the edge of the stage. They build a sense of organic life onstage, leaving us wondering what kind of growth this room might see… Amy Poe and Melissa Panzarello’s period costumes—shining blacks for widowed Kristine, tasteful colors and lace for Nora—fit each character well, and lighting designer Driscoll Otto’s deep, muted lighting of the Helmer’s parlor never feels too flip-a-switch modern. And another mention of Chelsea Warren’s set design won’t hurt a thing. There’s more to that drapery than meets the eye.”

Broadway World, Jo-Jo Steine: “Director and adapter Joanie Schultz modernizes the language and keeps the design firmly rooted in history. The choice to adapt does not hide a lack of understanding on Schultz's part - it in fact shows a true depth of understanding and familiarity with the text. It certainly does not disguise an insufficient budget; elaborate and historically correct fashions created by Melissa Panzarello and Amy Poe, in conjunction with a marvelous set designed by Chelsea M. Warren, convincingly portray the wealth of the late 17th century family at the heart of the drama.”