BELFAST — The Belfast Maskers announces the cast of the first production of the troupe’s 2023 season, Lucas Hnath’s acclaimed play, “A Doll’s House, Part 2.” Director Bill Burford assembled the cast of four actors over two weeks of outreach, interviews and auditions with many talented Midcoast performers.

The play is imagined as a sequel to Henrik Ibsen’s groundbreaking and controversial “A Doll’s House,” written in 1879. Hnath’s play was written in 2017, just as the “Me Too” movement began to come fully into national and international focus. It begins with the return of Nora, Ibsen’s central character, to the same door she walked out of 15 years earlier, leaving behind her husband and their three young children.

Nora will be played by Giz Coughlin, a relative newcomer to the Maskers’ home stage at the Basil Burwell Community Theater, 17 Court St. Coughlin brings to the role decades of experience onstage at small, adventurous theaters across the Northeast.

Among previous roles she numbers a local appearance some years back with Jason Stubbs, who will portray Nora’s estranged husband, Torvald. Their onstage collaboration began some years ago with the Cold Comfort Theater presentation of Jennifer Lane’s “To Fall in Love.” Stubbs was last seen on the Maskers’ stage in “The Secret Garden: the Musical.”

Ivy Lobato, familiar to Belfast onstage and off, is to play Anne Marie, who begins the show as Torvald’s housekeeper. “Earlier in their lives, Anne Marie was not only the nanny who raised Nora’s children,” Burford said. “She also raised Nora herself. She’s something of a moral compass to this troubled family of professionals, despite the apparent distance in rank from the people she’s supported her whole life.”

Rising star Erin Hayes rounds out the acting company, as Nora and Torvald’s self-possessed youngest child, Emmy, now an independent young woman in her own right. Hayes was last seen at the Maskers as Celia in Shakespeare’s beloved “As You Like It.”

“Ibsen’s original play is now a classic of what has been called ‘realism’ for 140 years, still the foundation of most of what we see onscreen. He’s the recognized founder of the middle-class social issue play. Its premiere in Copenhagen caused a public scandal that drove the playwright from his native Norway for decades,” said Burford. “Lucas Hnath has written a trim, powerful set of five, head-on, one-on-one confrontations between these four intimately related people. The stakes are about personal autonomy, double-standard marriage as law, what we owe one another — literally life-and-death in a small, close-knit community. Could not be more on point for us in Midcoast Maine today.”

After each performance of “A Doll’s House, Part 2,” audience members are invited to an optional talkback in the theater. Those who choose to stay can discuss the play with fellow audience members, the director, and perhaps some of the other production artists.

“Every well-constructed play’s about transformation, but not just of the characters,” said Burford. “The play’s only half done at curtain call. When we puzzle things out together afterward, that’s how onstage transformations become useful in our own lives.”

“A Doll’s House, Part 2” opens Thursday, March 9, at 7 p.m., with a discounted preview night performance, and continues through March 19 with Friday and Saturday shows at 7 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Find out more about this show and the Belfast Maskers’ 2023 season at belfastmaskers.com.