I could definitely sit at my computer and write a blog response to Mabou Mines “Dollhouse” about the theory behind the production. You know, the societal implications, what it’s trying to SAY, the comment it’s making on gender in western culture, how that relates to Ibsen’s original commenting on that in his earliest stagings of “A Doll’s House,” yadda yadda yadda and so on and so forth. You know, that magical intellectualism midterm papers are made of – the stuff I, as a theatre artist, often default to approaching plays with. But I WON’T be doing that here.
That’s because, I’m more-than-a-little-bit relieved to say, Mabou Mines’ “Dollhouse” was the first piece of theatre I’ve seen in a long time that I just FELT. It asked that I EXPERIENCE it, and nothing more. That experiencing, though, that letting the waves of it break and wash over me, was more than enough. I feel like that was all I could really even TRY to do during and after the show; my attempts to intellectualize and analyze the production were alltogether futile. It’s not that I couldn’t/can’t write you a critical essay about the socio-politicism of “Dollhouse” or whatever – it’s just that something in me is saying that I don’t want to or that I shouldn’t have to.
So I owe a gigantic thank you to Mabou Mines “Dollhouse” for assaulting me with their otherworldly production and holding me in that strange emotional place. I certainly wasn’t allowed to retreat to my maze-like mind during the show, what with the miniature furniture and masked nightmare people (who literally terrified me) and everything else. And, to put it out there, the show made me feel, among many things: frightened, nauseous, frustrated, melancholy, and conflicted as all hell. Not conflicted as a theatre artists, but as a person, for a ton of reasons. The motherhood question in the play being one of them…and that’s a conflict inside myself that I didn’t even realize I HAD until I saw this production!
This isn’t to say that Mabou Mines’ “Dollhouse” was my favorite play on planet earth – sure, there were things that put me off in a person-of-the-theatre way. There were elements that made me raise my eyebrow in question. But all in all, in this jumble of crazy thoughts and feelings I have in reaction to the production, I know for certain that “Dollhouse” was somehow just the piece of theatre I needed to see now. As the theatre artist looking to leave her head and get to back to the basics of her gut and her heart, and as the person.