What Happens Next?

         I got to thinking about what happened to Nora and Torvald in Henrick Ibsen's 1879 A Doll's House after she left. She told him that, for her to come back, the most wonderful thing of all would have to happen. They would both have to be changed so much that they would have a real marriage. The way that Anthony Hopkins played the role in Patrick Garland's 1973 movie version made me feel bad for him, and I thought that he really could change after Nora (Claire Bloom) had left because he would realize how much she meant to him. So here is what I think happens five years down the road.

         The house is the same as when she left it. It is empty now. The children are either at school or out with Anna (Dame Edith Evans). Torvald is in his office. Everything is quiet. There is a knock at the door. The maid answers the door then comes to tell Torvald who it is.

         Maid: Sir, Mrs. Christine is waiting to see you.

         Torvald: Oh, send her in!

         Maid: Yes sir.

         Enter Christine.

         Tor: Hello, Christine! Is everything okay at the bank? Has Krogstad gotten out of line again? (They laugh.)

         Chris: No, no, nothing like that. I just wanted to make sure you were doing okay, see if I can help with anything.

         Tor: Oh no. Everything is okay, the children are gone so I can get some work done. Christine, I wanted to say thank you so much for everything you have done for me these last five years. I know that at first it seemed like I was a horrible man, but ever since she's been gone I have been so miserable. I never realized before how much I needed her. I tell you, Christine, if I ever got another chance I would do so many things differently. I would treat her as she wanted to be treated. I see the error of my ways now. Alas, I am too late! The only reminder I have of her are the children, especially Mary. She is just like her mother!

         Chris: That she is! I have something to confess to you, Torvald. Please, sit down. They sit.

         Tor: Okay, what is it?

         Chris: This may be hard for you hear, and I want you to understand my motives. So let me explain myself.

         Tor: Oh come now, Christine. It cannot be that terrible!

         Chris: Well, here it is. That night that you found the letter from Krogstad, I went to his house. I spoke to him, and he saw that what he did was wrong, at least the reasons behind what he did were wrong. He was ready to come and ask you for the letter back, but I stopped him. I know that you are probably thinking that it was a cruel thing to do, but if I didn't, nothing would have changed. Nora would go on being the doll that she was, never experiencing life, and you would go on not appreciating her. Do you forgive me?

         Tor: Christine! Why of course I do! What did you think I would say? I understand perfectly why you did that. But, I do have one question. Why did you wait so long to tell me?

         Chris: That is another thing that I have to tell you. I did not mention it before because I wanted to see how you would react to the other news. From your answer, I can tell that you truly are a changed man, so I will tell you. Nora is back in town. She is at my house. She has asked me not to tell you that she is here because she fears that you have not changed at all. She has changed so much. Don't get me wrong! She is still lovely, and she still loves to have fun. However, she is more mature now; somehow; she seems more like a woman than she did before.

         Tor: She's back! I must see her! I must show her that I have changed, and that I love her! I must see her, Christine!

         Chris: (chuckles) Slow down, Torvald! I know you want to see her, but she will not believe that you have changed just like that. Tell me, would you be willing to put yourself and your male pride to the side?

         Tor: Of course I would! I would do anything for her now.

         Chris: I am so glad you said that. Torvald, there is just one more secret that must be told.

         Tor: What, what?!

         Chris: Well, Nora has been back for some time now, about three weeks. I have been giving her daily reports of the happenings in this house, and I asked her to come with me today. She was afraid that if you were with her, you would lie to get her back. So, I thought that the only way she would really know your feelings would be if you said them, thinking she was not around. Please forgive me for doing this, after all I am the kind of person that does not like scheming, but I honestly think you belong together, and now you are ready for the responsibility of a true marriage.

         Torvald: looks to the door as it opens. Nora enters looking more mature and worldlier. They look at each other and then embrace. Christine exits quietly.

         Tor: Oh Nora! I have missed you so much. Are you back to stay? I promise you that I have changed. From now on, I will include you in everything. We will have the perfect partnership! I swear, I am no longer interested in whatever anyone thinks of my family or me. Believe me; ask Christine!

         Nora laughs a little. Oh, Torvald, I do believe you. I have seen the way you behave now, and Christine tells me all the time. I will not leave again. I have done what I left to do, and through it all I still love you. I see now that what you have for me is love too; otherwise it would not have lasted these five years; and, because of that love, I know that you will treat me as your equal!

         Tor: Oh yes, darling, yes.

         They embrace again. Curtain.

Bianca Bagby

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