tv Charlie Rose PBS June 3, 2017 12:00am-1:01am PDT
>> rose: welcome to the program. we begin this evening with politics. we talk to dan balz, chief correspondent of the "the washington post." >> there are certain things that he believes that have to do with kind of the economic status of the united states and the role of global agreements, whether they're a draid trade agreement or an environmental agreement, and he's had a long-standing view that i think pre-dates his arrival into politics formed years ago and i'm not sewer exactly sure -- sure how and why they were formed, but the the idea that, in one way or another, we have been taken advantage of. i think it is fundamental to the way he sees the world and he sees his role as president. >> rose: we continue with the director, playwright and cast of the broadway play "a doll's house, part 2". >> i think he wanted that door to sham and us to sort of
consider the meaning of nora leaving. but, you know, over 100 years later, i think it's time to sort of revisit that story and think about, well, what does it mean that she left and what would it mean to return and what would even bring her back. >> rose: dan balz of "the washington post," and the cast of "a doll's house, part 2", when we continue. >> rose: funding for "charlie rose" has been provided by the following: >> and by bloomberg, a provider of multimedia news and information services worldwide. captioning sponsored by rose communications
from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: donald trump's decision to withdraw from the paris climate agreement has row voakd an overwhelmingly negative reaction overseas and at home. joining me from washington to talk about the president is dan balz, chief correspondent for "the washington post." welcome to our program. >> thank you, charlie. >> rose: tell me why the president felt compelled to do this, and let's grant him that perhaps he thought it was in the national interest to do this, perhaps he didn't believe the accord was the best that could be had. let's assume that that part of his mindset. but what else? >> charlie, i think you go back to sort of first principles with president trump, and we saw it during the campaign, and we've seen it at important moments during the first months of the administration. there are certain things that he believes that have to do with kind of the economic status of the united states and the role of global agreements, whether
they're a trade agreement or an environmental agreement. and he has had a long-standing view that i think pre-dates his arrival into politics formed years ago, and i'm not exactly sure how and why they were formed, but the idea that in one way or another we have been taken advantage of. and i think it is fundamental to the way he sees the world and he sees his role as president. i mean, he said months ago, i was elected to be president of the united states, not to be president of the world. yesterday, he said, i was elected to represent the people of pittsburgh, not the people of paris, and i think that is deeply engrained in hum. i think when he hears all of the criticism of the possibility of the damage that could be done by withdrawing from this agreement and what it might mean as the u.s.'s role as leader in the world and the global arrangements that have been built with u.s. leadership over
the many years, that doesn't register on him in the way that his idea is that these have been bad for the united states, they have been bad for workers, and he's going to try to do something about it. >> rose: you mean he can be considered a true economic nationalist as steve bannon is? >> i think that's right. now, you know, when you look at what he did here, and a lot of people say i believe rightly that this was a victory for steve bannon, it's also a victory for a lot of conservative republicans who have long been opposed to the environmental policies of president obama's administration and i think have wanted to do everything they could to reverse those, and they have been taking steps to try to do that. this is another step in that regard. but, on the economic point, i mean, he didn't talk much about environmental issues in his statement on thursday, he talked more about the economic damage that he believed that agreement would do to the united states
and the advantage that that would give to others, and i think that more fundamentally reflects his world view. >> rose: what is the economic damage he believes it will do to the united states? >> well, i think his view was that, in one form or another, that this agreement would shackle the united states and that it would cost the united states jobs, and to be freed from it -- now, you can argue with the facts of this, obviously -- but to be freed with it allowed the united states to chart its own course and not to have, you know, the environmental regulations that the rest of the world wants to impose on us or that we voluntarily agreed to accept as part of this agreement in one way or another inhibit the way we wanted to run our economy or the way in which energy companies wanted to operate and automobile companies wanted to operate, big utilities want to operate. so i think his view is that -- and he cited some studies, some of which have been disputed --
that said this would have cost a considerable number of jobs over a long period of time, and i think his argument was the advantage in terms of whatever it might do for climate change, whatever it might do for the plant environmentally, it wasn't worth what he envisioned as the economic loss. now, as we know, there is a huge pushback against that and lots of people who dispute the facts he was offering as his rationale for pulling out and, also, the view that this does great damage to the united states internationally because it is a pullback. i mean, it is an america-first move on his part and one that could have significant consequences beyond simply the paris accord. >> rose: do we believe that, at the essence, donald trump, when he means america first, means that america is simply not serviced well by being a part of the larger world, that we're
better off if america simply goes its own way and does what it does well? >> i think that's right, charlie. and, you know, this was articulated quite straightforwardly in an op-ed that h.r. mcmaster, the national security advisor, and gary cohn chief economic advisor in the white house wrote for the "wall street journal" earlier in the week was in essence rejecting the idea that we are a part of a global community or that there is something valuable about that a idea of a global community, and that, instead, nations compete. they compete for advantage. they compete for military advantage and economic advantage, cultural advantage, and that we are well positioned in this country to compete effectively in that way as opposed to entering into these kinds of rangements which -- arrangements, which, in the president's view, tend to shackle the united states rather than allowing us to express our
advantages in a way that we can gain the most from them. >> rose: yet, at the same time -- and i'm not asking you to defend the president or in fact support the president, obviously -- but, at the same time, did he actually go through a rigorous examination of this, or was he simply going forward with the principles he already believed in because, as you know, lots of people stepped forward to express deep opposition to this because of the american interest as well as the american interest in national security of which they see global warming as a part? >> well, you know, i can't answer the question of how much h he delved into the details of all of this. my colleagues and had a very gd piece in the friday post-about the lobbying that was going on back and forth, and it was intense and it was fierce. he heard from people on all
sides, and, you know, there were serious efforts to, in essence, gin up different views to make sure he heard them, including ivanka trump helping to organize some c.e.o.s to weigh in on behalf of staying in on the accord. so we know that he heard a lot. he also heard a lot from the likes of steve bannon and scott pruitt, the e.p.a. administrator, who came armed with a lot of data, a lot of information to support the idea that this agreement was bad for the united states. so he heard a lot. i think he probably heard as much on this as he's heard on anything. i've compared this to kind of the healthcare issue where, obviously, he was involved in trying to change some people's minds, but we never got the sense that he delved deep will you into the details of it or ever fully cared that much about the details of health care.
on this, i think he heard a lot, but, you know, he ended up where he began which was he had said as a candidate we were going to get out of this and, in the end, that was where he came down. there was some talk he might offer some kind of appeasement to the people who wanted to stay in or some sop to them to suggest that, well, we're mostly pulling out but we're going to try to be good about it. but this was a withdrawal. i mean, the only acknowledgment was that, well, we can start to renegotiate a new deal, which there is no forum to do that, there's no way he's going to be able to do that. that was the closest egame to offering anything to the side that lost on this. >> rose: and then this point, some people have been talking about the different sides within the white house, and clearly this was victory r the economic nationalist steve bannon and mill around others, or was it simply the president listening to his own head, and you can't tribute it to anyone other than the president
listening to what he had believed? >> i have to believe that it's the latter, charlie, and not the former. i mean, you can make the argument legitimately that this was a victory for steve bannon because he argued very vociferously to get out of this, and you can argue this is a victory for economic nationalists, but, i think, in the end, this was donald trump acting as donald trump. i'm not sure -- and this, again -- this is me projecting a thought that he came down where he wanted to be, where he thought he always was and that he was willing to hear various sides but at the this reflected core values at the he has carried with him into the white house and that he's going to operate on not just on this but i suspect on other matters as well. >> rose: and it had, i guess in his mind, the additional positive quality of it seems to be what his base wanted him to
do. >> oh, there's no question about that. i mean, when he talked in the inaugural address about the forgotten americans that he was going to represent and that the american carnage was going to end starting on january 20th, i mean, i think this is a straight line from that to this kind of a decision, and i think that -- i mean, one of the things that we've seen in this administration is there has been no particular effort to try to expand the base of support that got him into the white house. it has been at various turns a reinforcement of that support and i think that this was another example of that. i think on any of the economic issues, he plays directly to the base and i think, as we saw in the campaign, he has a visceral instinct for how the people who helped support him and got him to the white house think and feel about many of these issues. >> rose: and these people don't care what the chancellor of jarl or the president of france say about how they see it as an impact and how they see it playing right into the hands of china?
>> no, i think they see what's happened in their communities. >> rose: right. and whether it had to do with the paris accords or, you know, nafta or any other agreement, they see an north america in which its economic muscle has been weakened over many years and that donald trump says he's going to do something about that and if this is a step to do that, i suspect that many of them will applaud him very vociferously. >> rose: and that was, in fact, the political genius of donald trump in the campaign for the presidency. >> and it's what fooled so many people who thought there was no way he could become president. so, again, this is one of those moments when he acts against what all sorts of "smart people" say is in the interest of the united states, but, as he said, i'm sitting in the oval office and they aren't. >> rose: there is this, he comes home from many people judge as a reasonably successful trip in saudi arabia and less so when he went to n.a.t.o. and the g7, he comes back from that after nine days, and he will get
up next week, and james comey will be testifying, and he will saw, we assume, some of the things that he claims that the president has said to him, and that's clearly going to be embarrassing to the president if not raise questions of obstruction of justice. >> absolutely. it's interesting. we will go from this period where he was on the world stage this week and then drawing attention to his world view of how the world ought to be shaped, and next week, with the comey testimony, we go back deeply into the whole issue of russia and the investigations, and it is kind of this split-screen nature of his administration at this point. they are trying to do things. they have an agenda that's largely been stalled on capitol hill, but on the one hand they are trying to do the things that they made promises about during the election and, yet, they are
dogged, literally day in and day out, by the russia investigation and all the revelations that continue to spill out day by day by day, and next week will be a huge week because of director comey's testimony. i mean, we will not have seen a day like this in washington in quite a long time. i mean, you can already envision what that day is going to be like with wall-to-wall coverage and breathless reports and everything magnified because of the world in which, you know, social media has the ability to take an event and transform it into something viral. so he is heading into a potentially very, very difficult week. obviously, they know that, and they will attempt to be prepared. there is some question as to whether he will try to invoke executive privilege to prevent mr. comey from testifying. sean spicer at the briefing today would not give an answer as to whether they have made a decision. they reviewing it, he said. but i suspect, one way or another, we'll hear from directodirector comey next week.
>> rose: we're also looking at committees that have subpoena power and they're subpoenaing both documents and people to come to different congressional investigation committees. >> i mean, in a sense, charlie, the investigations which, you know, have been ongoing for months now seem to be accelerating with the issuing of subpoenas, and all of that, you know, will be -- will continue to crescendo throughout the summer and probably into the fall, and ten, of course, there's the special counsel, robert mueller, who's got his own investigation about which we don't know much other than it's potentially very, very damaging to people around trump and, you know, his son-in-law has now been drawn in, jared kushner, with questions about meetings with the russians. there is just so much swirling on that front that they can never quite -- they cannot get out from under it. they, i think, are continuing to try to figure out how to manage it. i mean, months ago, somebody from a prior administration said the smartest thing they could do
is, in a sense, figure out what they don't know, that there was so much that they didn't know, but to try to take their own inventory, do some kind of their own internal investigation, they obviously did not do that, and, so, they are left, in a sense, to react to every new revelation that comes out and, as i said, they continue to come out on such a regular basis that they're playing catch-up entirely every day, every day, every week. >> rose: more and more people are stepping forward, not just columnists and not just people who are pundits and paid to do that, but a range of people from corporate america and other institutions in america seem to be a rising sense of concern and fear. >> charlie, i agree with that. i think people recognize that we're in a most unusual period in this country's history. we have -- we have not seen anything like this. we have not seen an early stage
of a presidency that bears resemblance to this. there is, in addition to the deep partisan polarization, a sense that the country is in overdrive in a way that is just kind of breaking everything apart, and i think there is deep concern about that. >> rose: right. there is concern about what the investigations ultimately will lead to. there is obviously concern on the part of people who support president trump that there is a wuch hunt, that there is a determination on the part of whoever to bring him down, and that is pitting people against one another, but, as you say, it has kind of raised the collective level of concern in the country and this notion of how do we continue like this and for how long will ewe continue -- will we continue like this and what's the way out of it. we don't have an answer to that. nobody can answer it, but i think we all recognize the
gravity of the situation that exists at this point. >> rose: the interesting thing, too is this president had a domestic agenda. he clearly wanted to do something in terms of health care, he wanted to do something in terms of tax reform, he wanted to do something in terms of infrastructure, and he wanted to do something which has been stopped in the courts about immigration, all of that, except things that are in the court process, are on hold. >> well, i guess i would say on immigration, though, the travel ban has been held up in the courts. in other ways, he's moved on immigration, and i think that people who elected him in part because of thum congratulations issue feel as though he is keeping that promise. again, in the his pampg community, it's created a sense of alarm and fear, but i think on that front he is making some progress and it does show that elections do matter. on issues like health care and
tax reform, i think one of the things that's happened, charlie, is that the republicans have run into the reality of the difficulty of governing. during the obama administration, it was pretty easy to be against what president obama was in favor of, but to come up with the alternatives to that has proved to be very, very, very difficult. we saw the difficulty the house went through to try to get any kind of a healthcare bill. the senate is struggling with it. the administration planners believed long ago that that issue would be done and signed, and there's no quick solution on that. there is a hope among republicans that they can finish healthcare in the senate by the august recess but we'll see if they're able to do that. the president said, when they were talking about the paris accords, that the tax bill is moving along very swiftly. there is no real evidence of that.
we don't know the real outlines of that yet or whether there can be any kind of consensus within the republican conference in the house or the senate on that. so those two big-ticket items are, at this point, in limbo. in a funny way, this seems nutty, because we're still in the first six months of a four-year term, but the window closes relatively quickly on some of those. so there's a sense that they need to get those things done or moving well before the august recess or certainly in the fall, but they have to do with the debt ceiling at some point when they come back from the august recess. they have to fund the government, that's going to be another battle. so these things pile up and pile up. and the agenda that he had gets backed up farther and farther. you mentioned infrastructure, i think there are still people who wonder why he didn't try to do infrastructure early and try to make an outreach to the democrats, but i always kind of thought that was not likely because the republicans have
full power at this point. they own the house, the senate, the white house, and they have an agenda that has been, you know, building up for some years and they wanted to move that first. the infrastructure was a donald trump initiative, but not necessarily a conservative republican initiative. so he's run into these kinds of complications. again, the russia matter and all the issues around that cause a dis-- a distraction is not the right word. they force a focus on that to the exclusion of some of the issues they'd like to get done, so it makes it very difficult. >> rose: has he gotten a fair press? >> he's gotten a very tough press, charlie, i don't think there is any question about that, but i think he's gotten a tough press because he has brought a lot of it on himself. when he engages in falsehoods, when he says that he would have won the popular vote were it not
for 3- to 5 million illegal immigrants who voted, he's dealing with facts that do not exist, and the press calls him on that. the other thing we know is this is a white house, even though in one sense they are bunkered together, that they are fighting amongst themselves and leaking mightily to the reporters who are covering the white house. i continue to get e-mails from people who oppose trump who still believe that the press, including the mainstream press, enabled donald trump and helped to elect him and defeat hillary clinton. so there is another view of this from the other side. but among trump supporters and certainly from the president himself, there is a feeling that the press coverage has been mightily unfair. >> rose: and then you had hillary clinton stepping out this week in another interview talking about how this information was weaponized in the united states, this hacking
information was weaponized to help defeat her as a candidate. >> she did. it was quite an interesting interview that she did with walt mossberg and kara swisher of recode. i was clear from watching her in that interview that she has spent hours and hours and hours poring through data and information and analyses to try to understand why she lost. i mean, i thought one of the more telling statements she had, and i think i'm paraphrasing here, was something to the effect of i take responsibility for every decision i made, but that wasn't why i lost. and she has found a variety of reasons other than her own skills as a candidate, the way she ran the campaign or her campaign's performance to conclude these are the reasons she lost, not any of those. now, she is rightly concerned,
as everyone is, about the role of the russians and what happened in the election and whether the russians will try to do that in future elections and the degree to which the sanctity of the vote here or the sanctity of the way we operate a democracy is at risk because of what now can be done through social media and through hacking and all sorts of nefarious ways, and she is quite fluent on that. she has drawn clear conclusions about the role of the trump campaign in that that have not yet been proven by any of the investigations. there is obviously a lot of dots. she's connected those dots. she walked right up to the line of essentially saying that donald trump himself was colluding. she tinted quite say that but certainly she believes that the campaign of trump's was in one way or another involved either cooperatively or actively in her undoing. but she also said things that even many democrats were
surprised about. she went after the democratic national committee, and i got feedback and talked to people who just felt that that was a bridge too far, that that had very little to do, very little or nothing to do with why she was ultimately defeated. but she is looking for reasons to explain -- to explain what was unthinkable to her on the night before and of the election till she began to lose all the states they thought they were going to win. >> rose: dan, it's a pleasure to have you. you make so much sense and i'm honored you came on this program. >> charlie, i always appreciate it. thank you. >> rose: we'll be right back. stay with us. >> rose: henry
family. that sparked debate about what happened to her. follow-up from playwright lucas hnath flashes forward as nora returns home to face her family for the first time. ibsen's nora is a fascinating character and played by numerous actresses including janet mcteer who appeared here in 1997. >> if you look at it as a humanist drama with them fism, you have a much more flawed person, much more flawed character, much more flawed relationship and that stuff at the end, it's all there, brilliantly written, i think, and as soon as she says, i don't love you, she then says, i'm terribly sorry, it hurts me to say it. i mean, she's full of doubt. i just thought it was -- that's what happens when real couples break up. doesn't matter if you think you're right or know you're right, whatever, even though
you're walking out the door there is a part of you that says what if uh done and you're terrifyingly lonely and you always wish you could be better just for a minute. >> rose: "a doll's house, part 2" is nominated for best play, best direction of a play, best actress and best actor. here's a look. >> also, also, here's another thing that bothers me, you don't get angry. >> of course i do. maybe once. right now i feel angry. you feel angry. damn right i am. no, i don't believe you're angry, inside the feeling of feeling angry. you're just outside looking at it thinking oh, there is some interesting thing! you don't act! constipated! ( laughter ) >> rose: currently running at the john golden theater. here with me is the playwright lucas hnath, director sam gold, and actors laurie metcalf and chris cooper who plays her
former husband. welcome, welcome, welcome. let me begin, luxe, wit -- luca, with you. did you long think about what was going to happen here and over the aftermath of what happened to the character? >> yeah. i mean, i've always moved the play, and i had seen it in many productions, and, i mean, the first thing that came to me was the title. i just thought that was an audacious title for "a doll's house, part 2", and it wasn't until i started writing it that i had to get serious and past the joke of the title and really consider what does it mean to revisit the story. >> rose: what do you think ibsen intended? >> i think -- >> rose: people to think about it and speculate about it for all the years after? >> yeah, maybe in some ways what i did goes against his intentions. i think he wanted that door to slam and us to sort of consider the meaning of nora leaving. but, you know, over 100 years
later, i think it's time to revisit that story and think about, well, what does it mean she left and what would it mean to return and even bring her back. >> rose: is there much debate over how she turned out rather than how she might have turned out? >> much debate? >> rose: yeah. i love the fact that lucas, when he had the idea of what nora's outcome would be, i think he polled some of your friends, would bit positive or negative, because she had such limited options and with no skills and no education, the stigma of being a divorced woman in 1879. >> rose: yeah. so people thought that her options would be negative. so lucas wanted to go in the opposite direction. and when i mean in a positive way, a successful way. she's a success. >> rose: do people believe ibsen intend as kind of a feminist argument? >> i mean, i think the thing
that ibsen kept coming back to in all of his plays is how are we not free and how could we be more free and is that really truly etch possible, and he is a writer that seemed to yearn for people to be more free, to be less constricted by social norms, social judgment. i think "a doll's house" is part of it. the roles men and women are forced to play. nora's action to break out a certain expectation. >> rose: but comes back for legal reasons. se has to come back. >> she has to, yes. he has a very clever method that brings her back. what's fun for the audience is to find out what made her come back after 15 years oversilence, no communication at all, and also what she's been doing in
those 15 years. >> rose: and the audience wants to find out how torvald and everyone else react to her coming back after all this time and what questions they have for her. >> yes, and she gets shown, you know, face to face, she tha haso come face to face with the aftermath of what she did. >> rose: including her children. >> yes, her children are grown. >> rose: and how does torvald see her? >> oh, as a completely changed person. he doesn't recognize her. >> rose: yeah. is he surprised? >> oh, i think he's dumbfounded. >> rose: he thought she would go off and drift into nothingness. >> well, yea. i mean, i think he was convinced that she was -- she's still living, but her outcome, what's happened to her, i'm sure he has no idea. >> rose: why does she leave?
nora leaves because she has gotten into a spot where she's not sure what she wants, and she has a strong suspicion that the way that she's walking through life is without any understanding of who she is as a person. so she thinks she needs to go find out who she is -- >> rose: the search for identity. >> yeah. and i don't think -- she certainly doesn't think she can find that person, if she stays in this house, because she'll just keep falling into patterns of behavior. so she needs, you know, literally a change of scenery. >> rose: that's an ageless question, who am i. >> yeah, yeah. and it's, you know, the way the play articulates is it talks about there is a voice inside of your head, and that voice is you, but you have all these other voices colliding in on it, voices of your parents, of your husband, of the people in your community tell you what you
should be doing. so she has to stop hearing those voices of other people and hear really, if i'm left to myself, what do i want for myself. >> rose: sam, is part of this play not only how they react to her but how she reacts to them? >> it's an amazing surprise, right. the door slammed in 1879, and suns then we've all been wondering what happens to nora helmer. it's a fun exercise. so, for the play, you have all this buildup and excitement about what's going to happen when she comes back. are people going to flip out? are they going to welcome her back with open arms? what is she here for? and then, over the course of the play, you get sort of a series of, you know, little meetings between her and the important people in her life where you get -- you get the surprise of finding out how they treat her
and how she treats them. >> rose: some have said about you that you prefer minimalist in design of theater productions you're involved in. >> i like to focus on the actors. i like the words and the performers to do all the work. with this, we really thought about it, when i read lucas' a play, i thought about a boxing match. it's got a lot of rhetoric, a lot of argument in it and it just felt like making a production where it could be great actors kind of sparring. that was the basic idea. >> rose: so, i mean, where would you rank ibsen? where do you rank this play? >> it's one of the most important plays in dramatic literature, one because it was extremely shocking when it was written, you know, to give a woman that -- you know, the things you were talking to lucas about, about her inner voice, to give a woman that decision to
leave her family, to leave her children and to leave at the end of that play and that door slamming was an incredibly important moment in cultural history and theater history and then it's a great role actors have played forever and you get to watch a great actor play. you know, it's one of the great roles. >> rose: before we started, janet was here in 1997 in the role of nora. >> you get to watch people reinterpret that part like janet did in '97. for this play, it's a chance to get to see someone play nora, but also get to see someone in a completely new play. it borrows from the old play but it really is its own play that gets to use some of the context of ibsen but it's really lucas and lucas' voice more than it has anything to do with ibsen. >ibsen. >> rose: i guess the fascination is what manner of come who had the strength to do
this? >> what man or woman? >> rose: what manner of woman, human being, to walk out at a time when no one ever left the nest of the family. >> i know. ates wonderful character. it's fascinating. even though i haven't done the original doll's house, and i still haven't, really, i mean, i'm playing nora helmer, but she has reinvented herself in the 15 years she has been away. so i felt like i had a free pass to reinvent the character myself, because it's the nora that we see that everything that was bottled up in her in the original has come out, exploded, and se has a confidence and a sense of humor and aggress you'veness about her, and she's on a mission and she's focused. it's just thrilling to be able to play a character who's still very flawed, very flawed, in lucas' production. but you root for her because she's just so passionate about
her feelings. >> rose: how is she flawed? oh, she's selfish and she can be petulant and she can be kind of petty and she can be impatient. but i find, like, within a character that still has the passion, i find those negative attributes sort of endearing. it's fun to play. >> this is also what has changed torvald. i mean, i think having had nora leave the house, we use the word "torvald is constipated." ( laughter ) through these 15 years and this shock that he's taken, he's left to raise three kids with the help of anne marie the housekeeper, housemaid.
his life, i think, is so narrow, it's the bank and it's home. bank and home. he has no social life. he is horrified or very concerned about what society thinks of him, and her leaving, i think, has just turned his world inside out. >> rose: but he never filed for divorce. >> he never did because that would have opened up so many problems, so many problems and, in this case, by keeping quiet and people inquiring, well, where's nora? um, well, she's on a trip. but as time passes, they assume, well, she must have gotten ill. well, now she's in an institution. down the road they think well,
maybe she's passed away. but torvald doesn't keep that story alive or keep what might have happened alive. >> rose: except she needed what torvald could give her within the legal framework, would she have wanted to come back anyway? would she be so curious about what happened to them and, secondly, i want them to see what's happened to me? >> no, i think that's absolutely true. it's never stated explicitly in the text, but you can read between the lines that there is a curiosity and there is in fact a desire to see her daughter but a resistance to it because she's worried it could open up some wound and it's better to let wounds heal. but, yeah, we also talk about the moment when she walks into the door, there's a little bit of a vibe of, you know, the person who's just been off to college and learned all these new things and wants to go home and show mom what they learned.
>> rose: yeah. and that's sort of the fun of it, too. >> rose: yeah, this reminds me a little bit, much more dramatic and rich, of in small towns, whoever went away to the big city and did really well wants to come back to the hometown reunion just to say, here i am, you know, praise me for what i've done. >> there is a flavor of just -- like an old ex coming back. because it's a play about divorce, you can feel any kind of feelings you want to have about breakups just in general. so if nora slamming that door was also a breakup in a big, big way, and, so, what happens when your ex walks back through the door? do you fall back into your old patterns? do you spend a lot of time thinking about how different they look than they did when you broke up, and i think lucas hits kind of a core emotional truth
about couples and even couples that aren't together, you're still connected to each other forever. >> rose: does the audience choose sides between torvald and nora? >> the hope is that they choose sides and then they hear another side and flip a lot over the course of the evening, which is why i use that kind of sports metaphor. hopefully you as an audience member feel every side of the argument over the course of the show. i think it's one of the things lucas did really well and what makes the show really fun. >> rose: what's the engagement with her daughter? i did watt i had to do for myself in. >> yes. it's so funny that we're dealing with marriage and divorce and along comes the emmy scene, and the daughter, the little 3-year-old who doesn't remember her mother, the mother and daughter are now having a scene together, and they have very different takes on marriage, which is surprising. but, also, it has a lot to do
with abandonment. >> rose: rejection. yes. and emmy comes across as someone who has dealt with it well, but you see where -- how she's been affected by it. >> rose: nora's concerned about emmy's desire to live a more conventional life. >> mm-hmm. >> rose: she's concerned about that? >> she is. se just wants her daughter to have options. she sees in her daughter the same things that she fantasized about what a marriage would be at her daughter's age. >> rose: that's what feminine is about, isn't it, really, options? >> yes, to have options. that's the best thing she can do to give to her daughter, as she explains, as she's having a second epiphany and heading out the door to do more work towards that end. >> rose: what's interesting to me, too, is this idea, this play, if ibsen had been -- i mean, if "a doll's house" had been released today, it would be a very relevant play.
all these questions are contemporary questions about who we are, what are our obligations, how do we find happenness, what's our responsibility, all that. and this production, though, it takes place in the 1890s, and they're wearing vick torn clothes, the writing style is extremely contemporary. the way lucas makes the world is extremely contemporary, so you feel like you can keep asking yourself over the course of the production what about our world is exactly like victoria and norway and what's different and you get to bounce around between the two. >> rose: and how do you add that contemporary sense, necessity to the play in terms of the staging of it? >> it was always clear to me to have very contemporary, american performances. at the voice of it when i read it in the writing was not to feel at all period, not to feel at all norwegian, not to feel at all like a stodge, ibsen production, but to feel like i was doing a brand-new play in a
contemporary, american vernacular and let the victorian context happen in the subject, and then some beautiful vick torn clothes helps. >> and you've incorporated very contemporary sound. >> yes. and very contemporary touches, like something as simple as a kleenex box. >> rose: exactly. i was going to mention that. the point is to make it contemporary. >> yeah, i wanted people to see the contemporary world and think backwards instead of the other way around. >> rose: did you want to sort of say, as you started writing this, forgive me, mr. ibsen, but... ( laughter ) >> i didn't feel apologetic with him. >> rose: you felt what, though? did you want to say, what, at long last you're going to have somebody answering the questions you raised? >> it felt i was having a conversation with him. he's a
playwrighting mentor of mine. hem do a little homage and rift to you and do something else as well. i found a bad translation of "a doll's house" and cut and pasted it in a document and went line by line through and wrote my own words and streamlined it as much as possible and that's the way i was communicating with ibsen. when i got to the end, i was ready to keep going. >> rose: can you think of any other play ever written you would like to do part two? >> part of the dramatic canon is in most plays people all die at the end so that eliminates a sequel. but, no, i can't. i've stood on subway platforms wondering this question many times, and i think this is my only sequel. >> well, we could have a sequel to this sequel. we could project it 15 years into the future. >> in another 15 years, we'll all come back together. >> rose: and come to the table
and talk about why you decided it. the other interesting i think the to me is what's happened to her along the road which is part of the retelling that she will tell them? in other words, once she left, everybody wants to know what happened to her, and she wants to explain what's happened to her -- or not. >> yeah, i mean, she sort of -- >> rose: she's not trying to hide anything, is she? >> no, no, but i think she -- you know, she definitely emphasizes the parts that went great, you know, in that first scene. she tells the story of what happened, and it's all the highlights. it takes a little bit longer to sort of talk a bit more about what was particularly difficult. >> rose: is that because of the incest and questioning of maid, child, husband? >> i think part of it is that she real will you doesn't want to tell this story of, i left my
family and i was punished for it, i suffered because i left my family. she wants to deemphasize that, i think. >> rose: because she doesn't think -- go ahead. >> but as she moves through the play and interacts with the other characters, they all sort of almost demand to know what it cost her, and she is compelled to say, no, look, seriously, this was incredibly difficult. i struggled. this was hard work. but i think she's also somebody who would never want people to feel bad for her. >> rose: at the same time, she thinks emmy is making a mistake. >> yeah. >> rose: even though she's chosen for herself. >> absolutely. i mean, she's really worried about seeing her daughter just go through -- she doesn't want her daughter to struggle like
she did. >> she's living with like-minded people, also, in the 15 years who she has gravitated to and startled to find out her own daughter is not seeing the world like she does. >> rose: did scott have you go out and talk to feminist academics or suggest to you, is the way i'd put it? >> no, it was something we actually had been talking about -- >> we all did our home work. sent the script to a number of scholars. >> rose: asking them what question? >> first to just read the play and respond. >> the play is all these arguments, and it was really important to have balance in the play and to feel like all sides -- you could get the audience to feel like every side was right. in order to find that balance, we needed a little bit of help from some people who knew a lot more about things like vick torn divorce law -- victorian divorce law and sort of the history of
feminism and some things that would help kind of balance those arguments from perspectives we didn't have enough info on when we first started working. >> rose: what was the reaction when the play was released in 1879? >> it was shocking. >> rose: shocking. yeah, people tried to censor it. ibsen rewrote the ending of the play for a famous production because it would be like doing something illegal. >> rose: was it seen by social critics at the time as a threat to marriage? >> absolutely, to religion and to a woman's place in society. >> even other pla playwrights thought so. >> rose: ben brandy wrote in the times review on april 27
said that you had not written a feminist or anti-feminist play. quote, he has written instead an endlessly open debate which never feels like a debate because of the openness of the cast and the immediacy of mr. gold's fine production. the unexpectedly rich sequel remind us houses tremble and sometimes fall when doors slam and that there are other living people within who may be wounded or lost. that's pretty good. that's all you can say. >> i'll take it. >> rose: take it when it comes and when it doesn't come, don't worry. go ahead. >> very much agree. these points of view of every -- of each individual on stage is so valid, is so valid that a person, audience member who is of a certain belief has to listen to the argument, and he
will hear his side, and he will hear a whole another side, and he may hear a second, third and fourth side. and i think it's phenomenal, amazing that the house is quiet and they -- and i'm surprised that there isn't more outspeakenness from the house. you know what i mean? >> well, they're outspoken, and there are these big thunderous sections of laughter, and there are the big gasps and stuff, and suddenly on a dime it gets really quiet. >> they're outspoken when a character drives home a point
because, like at a sporting event, they applaud when certain points are landed. every uh character gets a few. >> rose: what are you doing after this? not after this conversation, but after this play? >> the "roseanne" show. >> rose: when does that start? it will go on the air in the new year. >> rose: chris, another movie, another play? >> another movie, another play. i will be looking for work down the road. >> rose: they will be coming. yeah. >> rose: sam? i'm in rehearsals for "hamlet" now, take on the big classics after nora, got to go "hamlet." >> rose: of course, you have to find the equivalent to nora. >> exactly. >> rose: to be or not to be, nora was to be. >> absolutely, she chose to be for sure. yeah. >> rose: oscar isics is your
"hamlet." >> yeah. >> rose: what about you. i'm finishing a play about my mother. a play in the form of a documentary where in an incident my mother about 20 years ago was kidnapped. it's based on interviews with her, and it's a really strange story. it's kind of a thriller. it's a documentary play. it's a whole mix of things. >> rose: how was it to interview your mother? >> i did not interview her. i had somebody else interview her because i was really interested in how she tells the story to someone who's not me because it's all stuff we've talked about plenty. >> rose: "a doll's house, part 2" currently running at the jo john golden theater. it seems to me to see this kind of play and ibsen in all its engagement and ideas and experiences is what theater is about.
so congratulations on what you've done here. >> thanks. >> rose: thank you for joining us. see you next time. for more about this program and earlier episodes, visit us online at pbs.org and charlierose.com. captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
hello and welcome. coming up on our program, los angeles mayor weighs this on what democrats need to do to stay nationally relevant and we'll talk about the third time rematch between the golden state warriors and the cleveland cavaliers. plus we get a sneak peek at the clusterfest, a comedy festival in town this weekend. but first, president trump announced thursday he would withdraw the u.s. from the climate saying it would benefit the economy. >> it's time to put youngstown, ohio, detroit, michigan and pittsburgh, pennsylvania, along with many, many other locations within our