Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Enemy of the People opens Friday

Dreamwell - Dreamwell Theatre launches its “Season of Inciting Theatre” with Henrik Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People, adapted by Christopher Hampton (Dangerous Liaisons, Atonement), on March 27, 28, April 3, 4 at the Unitarian Universalist Society located at 10 S Gilbert St.

Tickets are $12 general, $10 senior, $8 students and can be reserved by calling 319-541-0140 or online.

In a small coastal town, new medicinal baths have become a source of pride, hope and prosperity. Just as the success of the baths is certain, however, a well-admired doctor and leader of the baths project makes a disturbing discovery—the baths are contaminated with dangerous bacteria from a nearby tannery.

Though the doctor expects his findings to be celebrated, his community is divided in a bitter struggle pitting security, social position and the opinion of the majority against ideals and individual truths.

According to director, Angie Toomsen, modern audiences will relate to the themes in An Enemy of the People, but not because the contamination of the baths represents a particular political or environmental topic.

“Though ‘Enemy’ was written nearly 130 years ago, the play’s central crisis—truth versus public opinion—is enduring,” says Toomsen. “Media, politics, food additives, global warming, corporate whisteblowers, banking corruption—today's ‘poison in the well’ isn’t any one of these issues alone. It’s a spiritual toxicity where public opinion distorts the truth to protect itself--and that poison is pervasive.”

An Enemy of the People is the first show in Dreamwell’s “Season of Inciting Theatre,” which will present a colorful selection of plays that sparked social uproar when each was initially produced.

"We wanted to take a look at shows that broke new ground to examine just what made them controversial in their time and what that means to us today,” says Brian Tanner, past president of Dreamwell. "It helps us look at modern plays from a different perspective and see the power theatre has."

In one particular production of Enemy of the People, helmed by Constantin Stanislavski, revolutionary crowds were so moved by the doctor’s belief in the truth of the individual that they rushed the stage, interrupting the performance. Ibsen himself wrote the play as a reaction to the public protest of his play Ghosts.

Dreamwell will present an adaptation by playwright and Oscar-winning screenwriter, Christopher Hampton, who offers a timely, critically-acclaimed telling that the Times Literary Supplement (London) called “an unequivocal triumph” and Spectator deemed “a revelation…reborn as a passionate debate about the value of the individual."


Dr. Tomas Stockmann - Kevin Burford
Peter Stockmann - Chuck Dufano
Katrine Stockmann - Robyn McCright
Hovstad - Matt Brewbaker
Petra Stockmann - Becca Robinson
Marta Stockmann - Kate Glyten
Eilif Stockmann - Anna Bigelow
Aslaksen - Paula Grady
Billing - Kris Schneider
Captain Hortser - Brian Tanner
Morton Kiil - Nelson Gurll
Citizens - Jackie Allen, Dennis Lambing, Angie Toomsen

Check out the Corridorbuzz article about the show.

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