Brothers (Up) in Arms: A Trim, Healthy Enemy of the People Is a Strong Candidate This Election Season
Coming in an election year, when so many politicians polarize the electorate by confusing greed with moral good, the Manhattan Theater Club has picked a perfect time to revive Henrik Ibsen’s 1882 drama An Enemy of the People. Eschewing the most often used translation, by Arthur Miller, in favor of a new, trimmed-down version by Rebecca Lenkiewicz, the Broadway production at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre addresses the dilemma of one man’s idealistic struggle to buck authority and expose the truth in the face of a powerful opposition that reaches mob force. The play resonates today because a lot of do-gooders with hearts in the right place are eventually beaten into submission, giving in to the majority, whereas Ibsen’s hero faces ruin rather than compromise. Directed with force by Doug Hughes, this intermission-less outing cuts huge chunks of exposition and debate from Ibsen’s talky text, shortening a sometimes tedious play to manageable length, along with cutting some of the acting roles, but without excising any important values. It also provides two valiant actors, Boyd Gaines and Richard Thomas, with the opportunity to own the stage instead of leasing it. They are marvelous.
A coastal town in Norway with a spa that serves as a lucrative tourist attraction is the setting for a play of contrasting ideas. Read More