If Only I Could . . .

         I have always thought it would be wonderful to have the opportunity to become an actress, to have the ability to become someone completely different from who I am and have control over how I interpret a character in a novel or play. Since I am now being given the opportunity to portray any character in any movie that we have watched throughout this semester, I must say that I have to choose to replace Jane Fonda as Nora in Joseph Losey's 1973 film version of A Doll's House.

         For anyone who has viewed this sad act, one will understand my choice. Fonda, from what I understand, was at the time going through an "I am woman" phase. This phase of her personal life should have stayed as far away from a production of A Doll's House as possible. Given the opportunity to take over the role of Nora, I find that there are many notable things I would change.

         Since this is a hypothetical opportunity, I will take full advantage of it. First and foremost, my acting skills would be nothing like that of Fonda's. My portrayal of Nora would be an understated one. I do not feel Henrik Ibsen had any intention of Nora being overbearing and completely childlike when he wrote A Doll's House in 1879. Nora should be played like a woman of the late 1870s and 1800s. Naturally, the women back then were not quite as outspoken or flamboyant as Fonda portrayed the character. Putting myself in Nora's shoes, I would have been a bit more low-key. Still being persuasive and rather convincing, I would have been more intelligent with my actions and the way I conveyed my lines to the other actors. Fonda seems like a small, hyperactive child onscreen. With each scene she seems to become more and more rambunctious. The way she bounces from side to side, it seems as if Fonda has to use the restroom very badly half of the time.

         Again, since this is a hypothetical situation, let us say that I am a great actress and have tons of control. Like every other actor/actress in the world today, I would direct or at least co-direct with Losey by making several changes to my liking. My first move would be to throw out all of the cast members that were originally chosen, including David Warner, who attempted to play Torvald, and pick a whole new cast. Naturally, I would play Nora, and I would tell Losey to offer Anthony Hopkins more money to act for our production rather than Patrick Garland's. There would be auditions for the rest of the characters. I would make Hopkins talk out the intro Losey had originally chosen, explaining to him that if is not necessary and is impertinent to the movie. Speaking of cutting scenes, though, I think that it would be nice to film the movie on location in Norway, my character, Nora, should not be outside as much as Losey depicts since Nora is supposed to be sheltered.

         Watched over and almost controlled by her husband, Nora should elicit a feeling of confinement. Having her frequently walking around outside completely diminishes that illusion of confinement.

         In addition to the cast and editing scenes, the music of the movie should be changed. I found several musical arrangements in the movie to be distracting and unnecessary. The new music would consist of mainly string instruments; generally, lower notes will be played, and every now and then minor chords will be used. This is to give the film a darker, more eerie feel. I would request the film's composer to lend a cold, windy feel to the music since it is set in Norway.

         As one can see, if given the opportunity to take a role in A Doll's House and have the power to change the movie, I would basically rework the entire thing. The play has great movie potential. Luckily, it was given another change by director Patrick Garland in the same year as the Losey production. Due to the difference between the two, Garland's is actually worth watching, although my hypothetical version would be much better.

Holly Gray

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