The Dollhouse

Your home is regarded as a model home,
your life as a model life.
But all this SPLENDOR, and you along with it…
it’s just as though it were built upon a shifting quagmire.
A moment may come, a word can be spoken,
and both you and all this SPLENDOR will collapse.
– Henrik Ibsen

Nora and Torvald are cashed up and climbing: bespoke warehouse conversion, perfect children, and a shiny new job at a major bank for Torvald. Everything that Nora could want is due for Christmas.

Hysterical about sex, money and property. Subject to fierce yet mindless moralising, Nora’s journey from yummy mummy to liberated woman is one of the most famous in theatre history.

In a vertiginous blend of the realities of the stage, it’s technics, ritual and and repetition, Schlusser’s The Dollhouse is a daring theatricalisation of Nora’s mental landscape. A classic play masterfully transposed to contemporary domestic horror.

“I wouldn’t say Schlusser adapts classics so much as blows them up: this work is much more than rewriting. Using a practice he calls “hyper-realism”, he makes theatre out of classic texts that is not so much a textual exploration as a haunting, a demonstration of how these works live in our collective unconscious.” (Full Review)

Alison Croggon Theatrenotes

More Press & Reviews

“Critically engaged and beautifully performed”

Cameron Woodhead, The Age

“Nikki Shiels leads the cast brilliantly. The degree to which Nora is infantilised by her husband is perfectly exemplified as Shiels unhesitatingly throws herself into absurd scenes requiring childlike enthusiasm – from regurgitating marshmallows on stage to Tina Turner impersonations.

For much of the play the audience is given the feeling of being a fly on the wall of Nora and Torvald’s domestic life. Banal yet captivating snippets of conversation make up much of the dialogue, and interactions between characters often continue long after the focus has shifted to another interaction on a separate part of the stage. What results is a remarkable degree of believability. It’s like watching Big Brother, but the people aren’t two-dimensional – in a sense both literal and metaphorical.”

Iona Salter, Meld Magazine

“Raw and funny with a quietly devastating impact.”

John Bailey, The Sunday Age

Related Content


Kade Greenland, Josh Price, Daniel Schlusser, Nikki Shiels, Edwina Wren, Gabrielle Abbott/Cate Bastian

Henrik Ibsen

Daniel Schlusser

Assistant Director
Daisy Noyes

Set Designer
Jeminah Reidy

Lighting Designer
Kimberly Kwa

Costume Designer
Tiffany Abbott

Sound Designer
Martin Kay

Sarah Ernst for Daniel Schlusser Ensemble


September 15, 2011