Actor Jesmille Darbouze talks about starring in Jamie Lloyd’s adaptation of Ibsen’s ‘A Doll’s House’ currently playing at the Hudson Theatre, New York

Just under a couple of centuries on from when it was first staged, Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House – a radical feat at the time – continues to resonate. The tale of a young woman,Nora – a housewife who becomes disillusioned and dissatisfied with her condescending husband Torvald one that feeds in well with current conversations had around women’s rights. Currently playing at the Hudson Theatre, New York up until 10th June, the production has received critical acclaim, adapted by Amy Herzog and directed by Jamie Lloyd, the cast includes Jessica Chastain, Arian Moayed, Tasha Lawrence, Tasha Lawrence, Michael Patrick Thornton, Okieriete Onaodowan and Jesmille Darbouze. Starring as Kristine Linde, actor, singer and dancer Jesmille tells us more about the show’s current run.

Hi Jesmille, you currently star in Tony nominated director – Jamie Lloyd’s adaptation of A Doll’s House at the Hudson Theatre until June. How are you finding the role and what have responses been towards the show?

It’s been an honor to play the role of “Kristine” alongside such powerhouse actors. Playing this role has allowed me to grow as an actor and learn from the greatest in our industry. The show has been very impactful for many who have come to see it. This adaptation is allowing audiences to experience A Doll’s House in a way that they have never before. The text is more accessible and the lack of props, sets and costumes force audience members to hone in on the text and the relationships on stage.

A Doll’s House is one of theatre’s most well known plays and one that challenged convention when it was staged in 1857. Written by celebrated Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen, the resonant three-act play observes Nora – a housewife who becomes disillusioned and dissatisfied with her condescending husband Torvald. What drew you to take part in the production?

I had the privilege of working with Jamie Lloyd in the Broadway production of Betrayal in 2019, where I understudied the role of “Emma”, and after that experience, I knew I wanted the opportunity to work with him again. I was also drawn to the beautiful adaptation, written by Amy Herzog.

You star as Kristine Linde, an old friend of Nora’s and her complete opposite – Nora inevitably choosing independence over a partnership and Kristine vice versa. How have you approached tackling the role?

There was a lot in Kristine that resonated with me, which is always a gift as an actor. Being able to draw from personal experience to fill the depth needed to bring the character to life has helped me tremendously. 

The lead role of Nora is played by Jessica Chastain, Torvald by Arian Moayed, Anne-Marie by Tasha Lawrence, Dr Rank by Michael Patrick Thornton, Nils Kronstadt by Okieriete Onaodowanand understudies Franklin Bongjio, Carey Rebecca Brown, Melisa Soledad Pereyra and José Joaquín Pérez. How have you all worked together to realize the show?

None of us have ever worked together, but from day 1, Jamie created an environment and culture that celebrated us all as full company and ensemble working together to tell this story. We would have full ensemble warmups before every rehearsal to ground us and connect us to each other. All of these characters are deeply tethered to each other in different ways.

What have you learned/taken away from working on the show?

I’ve learned the value of surrendering to the text and trusting that if you are emotionally connected to the words, you can trust that, that connection will carry you through.

What can audiences expect from the show?

Audiences can expect to be moved by a piece of theatre that still resonates with us today. Its simplicity and minimalistic structure might cause skepticism at first, but one you surrender to the words and the honest connection on stage, you will be inspired and enthralled by the actors who are bringing this story to life. 

What would you like for audiences to take away from the show?

I hope that audience members are inspired by the power live theatre has to shift the lens in which we see the world and our lives. 

Questions by Lucy Basaba.

A Doll’s House is currently showing until Saturday 10th June 2023 at the Hudson Theatre New York. To find out more about the production, visit here…

Written by Theatrefullstop