I took on writing my own 90-minute adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s A DOLL’S HOUSE in 2018, which premiered at WaterTower Theatre. I couldn’t be more proud of this fast-paced adaptation. And the critics liked it too!
New 'Doll's House' adaptation shows how a woman's struggle to be heard is still achingly relevant, Dallas Morning News
”Nora may dress in an old-fashioned bustle, but Kate Paulsen's riveting performance as a woman scrambling on the inside to make everything perfect on the outside, etches an achingly contemporary journey in this 90-minute intermissionless production.” -Nancy Churnin
“WaterTower offers a sophisticated and enlightening modernization. Director and adapter Joanie Schultz modernizes the language and keeps the design firmly rooted in history. The choice to adapt does not hide a lack of understanding on Schultz's part - it in fact shows a true depth of understanding and familiarity with the text. It certainly does not disguise an insufficient budget; elaborate and historically correct fashions created by Melissa Panzarello and Amy Poe, in conjunction with a marvelous set designed by Chelsea M. Warren, convincingly portray the wealth of the late 17th century family at the heart of the drama. And if Schultz feared the audience might not understand? Rather than putting a band aid on that fear with some flashy modern props, she digs into the root of the misunderstanding, the translation from old Norwegian into modern English.” -JoJo Stein
“Schultz’ adaptation is a very effective tweak of the original—particularly in a short, vital addition at the end. And Ibsen’s story is respected: it’s all here, with almost no plot points lost along the way. The play’s longest face-to-face conversations are pared down without sounding rushed (though a couple of Nora’s brief, agitated soliloquies might have remained). And the light-handed update of language isn’t jarring, but makes several lines land with greater force, as if the #MeToo movement were bumping up against the 19th-century rulebook:
Torvald: No man would sacrifice his honor.
Nora [after a pause, and a long, steady look]: It’s a thing millions of women do every day.
Schultz isn’t trying to cut through the period style of Ibsen’s work—but to let us see past the flowing skirts and high collars, to experience just why and how this play shocked late-19th-century audiences with its blunt realism.” -Jan Farrington