“It’s only a play”: Ibsen’s A Doll’s House (1879), Adamson’s Wife (2019), and the Relevance of Historical Theatre


Catherine Quirk


Samuel Adamson’s Wife (2019) explores the impact a work of art can have on us, how a work of art can change lives, and thus how a historical work of art remains deeply relevant. Wife does this by adapting Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House into four temporally distinct moments and considering this impact on a linked series of audience members. In doing so, Adamson not only explores the continued relevance of a historical work such as A Doll’s House but also models audience member engagement with the historical text and its adaptations. Wife both emphasizes the enduring messages of Ibsen’s play—those elements which underly every successive adaptation—and notes how these messages intersect with and can impact contemporary audience members’ lives.

Comparative Drama is carried by JSTOR and Project MUSE.