What to do with a theatrical chestnut? Updating the language of Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House (at the Hudson Theatre through June 10), the playwright Amy Herzog has made its 1879 dialogue smartly contemporary and even devised some laugh lines. But it’s the director Jamie Lloyd who is really the star of this mesmerizing production, despite its being designed as a showcase for an Oscar-winning actress.

As the audience files in, Jessica Chastain, clad in a black dress, sits silently on a chair that slowly and unnervingly spins around the stage on a turntable. She looks like Whistler’s mother, or Norman Bates’s. She anchors an ultra-minimalist production—no color, no set decoration, no scenery changes, no props. The actors are tightly leashed, allowed nothing but a bare minimum of movement. Music is...


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