“Henrik Ibsen pulled off one of theater’s great hairpin turns…” –The New York Times
“instead the audience is faced with a real live polemic, sitting at the edge of their seats…listening to a man truly asking questions about the corrupt and false nature of leaders…and asking us to confront the evils majorities let happen, and how willful ignorance will lead us to the brink of disaster”
–New York Theatre Review
“The incandescent timely core of the play shines through…when push comes to shove, self-interest can so thoroughly dominate otherwise decent people that the general good gets subverted…it is a message as timely today as when Ibsen first wrote it.”
–Plays to See
Ibsen’s parable of the collision of truth and politics in the public sphere takes on new immediacy in this punchy and raw adaptation from the playwright behind Broadway’s Blackbird. When Dr. Stockmann finds that the town’s tourist-friendly baths contain lethal levels of toxins, he sets out to clear the air and quickly finds his friends and neighbors poisoned against him.
Why Public Enemy?
“When I read Harrower’s lean adaptation, I was stunned. His writing allows Stockmann to go for the jugular, to confront the hypocrisies of his town, and root out the corruption inherent in its local politics. Ultimately, my approach is to show that there is a price for excessive adherence to principle – and there’s a greater price for society in ignoring one’s truer ideals.”
- From Hal Brooks, Director and Artistic Director
Photo: Russ Rowland
“When a local doctor discovers that the water in his small town’s mineral baths is contaminated, it sets off a cataclysmic showdown between a corrupt government that doesn’t want to be blamed, an angry community that doesn’t want their economy ruined, and a single man’s determination to tell the truth—no matter the cost to family, town, or self.
The play offers a story of political corruption (a poisoned water supply and the conspiracy to cover it up) and one man’s almost self-destructive need to reveal the truth. This adaptation offers a 90 minute compression of the Ibsen original that streamlines the action of the story, but sticks closely to his style. The setting and costumes have been updated to reflect 2016, and, although it doesn’t draw a one-to-one comparison with Flint, MI (the play doesn’t entirely allow it), that narrative is very much in our minds. It’s an incredibly timely piece, with a great cast.”
- From Kate Farrington , Director of Education and Dramaturgy