SALT LAKE CITY — Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House has been a favorite for adaptation across decades and cultures since it premiered nearly 150 years ago in Europe. The sitting-room drama shines when adaptations maintain Ibsen’s masterful focus on fully-fleshed out characters who find themselves straining against the gender roles and social expectations that rule their lives. Ibsen’s outline is skillfully mapped onto a contemporary LDS setting in Laura Elise Chapman’s adaptation, @ll Times, All Things, All Places. Here, Nora, a loving wife, hides her growing disaffection from the LDS church from her devout husband, Thomas. A Christmas-time visit from her gay brother, Chris, coincides with a threat from a dangerous acquaintance. Nora is turned inside out when her anonymous Twitter life collides with her lived identity as a Mormon wife.
In the leading role, Chapman is by turns powerful and utterly vulnerable. As the playwright/adapter, her performance has the rare excellence of on-stage passion matched by on-page talent. She has crafted each scene with realistic pathos and unexpected humor. Chapman wisely pares down the action to four vital characters who revolve around Nora. Bryce Lloyd Fueston as Thomas, and Riki Squire as Chris are both excellent as the two most important men in Nora’s life who are tearing her heart in half. For all this, it is the haunting eyes and gripping performance of Brian Kocherhans as the twisted Joseph that will stay with me as I think back on this performance. The staging of @all Times, All Things, All Places, under Amanda DeBry’s straightforward direction, has thrilled me and reminded me of the simplicity required for a great play. I can’t wait to recommend this show at all times and in all places!