An Enemy of the People

Critics

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89 %

Reviews: 9

Audience

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Reviews: 0

Theatricum Botanicum resets Henrik Ibsen's powerful play in a small town in South Carolina in the 1980s. Powerful people have difficult choices to make in Ellen Geer’s free adaptation of this classic — and extraordinarily timely — struggle between the interests of the individual and the welfare of society.

An Enemy of the People opens on Saturday, June 22 at 8 p.m. and continues through Sept. 28. Tickets range from $10 – $42; children 4 and under are free. Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum is located at 1419 North Topanga Canyon Blvd. in Topanga, midway between Malibu and the San Fernando Valley. For a complete schedule of performances and to purchase tickets, call 310-455-3723 or visit www.theatricum.com. Visit Theatricum on facebook: www.facebook.com/theatricum. Follow us on twitter: @theatricum and instagram: @theatricum_botanicum.

Use discount code BETTERPEOPLE and get 20% off regular priced tickets

Reviews

Leigh Kennicott

It’s startling to see the Theatricum Botanicum stage populated by robed members of the Ku Klux Klan at a meeting chaired by David Duke (Conner Clark Pascale) in 1972. But we soon learn that that the main character, Dr. Stockman (Christopher W. Jones) and his wife, Katherine (Earnestine Phillips), were once run out of the little town of South Fork because of their marriage. Stockman has retained friendships across both sectors of the town, however. He unites with Horatio (Max Lawrence) editor of the “Black” newspaper, while Mildred (Katherin Griffith), the town’s mayor is none other than his own sister. Ibsen twists the knot ever tighter when all, even Stockman’s family, turns against him and he is declared “enemy of the people.”

Echoes of our own times abound in Geer’s update. The performers recreate the town’s inhabitants to chilling effect. From the repugnant KKK meeting to the final denouement, the play elicits a visceral effect. To paraphrase Trump’s “There are fine people on both sides” --- here, there are culpable people on both sides.

sweet - Leigh Kennicott - ShowMag - ...read full review


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This is not a production that chooses to tiptoe around anything. This is a show that frames an important conversation we as a nation seem incapable of having around a secondary moral concern and it makes it work.

sweet - Christine Deitner - The Theatre Times - ...read full review


Steven Stanley

Had Theatricum Botanicum simply revived Ibsen as written, audiences would have marveled at the play’s contemporary relevance. Had Ellen Geer been inspired by the 1882 original to write something brand new, the result would have been more rewarding. If the cast were performing several times a week, their work would have the razor-sharpness expected from a professional production. As is, An Enemy Of The People disappoints more often than it satisfies.

sour - Steven Stanley - StageSceneLA - ...read full review


Avatar

TB Artistic Director Ellen Geer is a master of adaptation and she went out on a limb on this one, bumping it forward 100 years, taking it to South Carolina, and adding the game-changing element of a racially mixed family.

sweet - Charles Andrews - Santa Monica Daily Press - ...read full review


Avatar

The dialogue is as easy to follow as its message is clear – the insistent search for the mighty dollar, the compulsion to fulfill personal interests without considering the welfare of others, and society’s nerve to punish and ignore those who speak up, are all actual enemies of the people.

sweet - Dena Burroughs - The Fume of Sighs - ...read full review


Paul Myrvold - Theatre Notes

With Ellen Geer vigorously adapting the Ibsen text as well as directing along with Melora Marshall, the play resonates with the concerns of today–the ever-creeping racism poking its ugly head up on a daily basis; the degradation of our planet; the careless, heedless rule of the politically corrupt. Christopher W. Jones as Doctor Stockman delivers some steamy, righteous sermons to the cast onstage, and then proceeds off the stage and up the stairs into the audience to drive his message home. We become the choir that is preached to.

sweet - Paul Myrvold - Theatre Notes - ...read full review


Avatar

Even as the current president of the United States calls certain newspapers “an enemy of the people,” this outstanding production takes risks to reveal chilling insights into our modern political system in this timeless and always relevant play.

sweet - Annemarie Donkin - Messenger Mountain News - ...read full review


Avatar

Ellen Geer freely adapted the moral dilemma presented – but placed the account in South Carolina. To further add to the problems faced by the more contemporary characters, Ellen Geer added issues of race in the American South in 1980 – and even threw in a Ku Klux Klan meeting of the time...

...I’m sure that Ibsen would have approved of the original play’s changes, which bring some contemporary and contentious issues to the fore.

sweet - Elaine Mura - Splash Magazines - ...read full review


Avatar

The co-directors not only draw finely etched renderings from their thespians but, as is a hallmark of plays performed at this amphitheater under the stars, make exciting use of Topanga’s sylvan glade, the hills and woods surrounding its rustic boards. Geer and Marshall direct a race riot onstage with a mise-en-scène that’s exciting, just like WGTB’s battles in Shakespearean epics such as Julius Caesar and the sit-on-the-edge-of-your-seat Nantucket sleigh ride in Moby Dick – Rehearsed.

sweet - Ed Rampell - Hollywood Progressive - ...read full review


Leigh Kennicott

It’s startling to see the Theatricum Botanicum stage populated by robed members of the Ku Klux Klan at a meeting chaired by David Duke (Conner Clark Pascale) in 1972. But we soon learn that that the main character, Dr. Stockman (Christopher W. Jones) and his wife, Katherine (Earnestine Phillips), were once run out of the little town of South Fork because of their marriage. Stockman has retained friendships across both sectors of the town, however. He unites with Horatio (Max Lawrence) editor of the “Black” newspaper, while Mildred (Katherin Griffith), the town’s mayor is none other than his own sister. Ibsen twists the knot ever tighter when all, even Stockman’s family, turns against him and he is declared “enemy of the people.”

Echoes of our own times abound in Geer’s update. The performers recreate the town’s inhabitants to chilling effect. From the repugnant KKK meeting to the final denouement, the play elicits a visceral effect. To paraphrase Trump’s “There are fine people on both sides” --- here, there are culpable people on both sides.

sweet - Leigh Kennicott - ShowMag - ...read full review


Avatar

This is not a production that chooses to tiptoe around anything. This is a show that frames an important conversation we as a nation seem incapable of having around a secondary moral concern and it makes it work.

sweet - Christine Deitner - The Theatre Times - ...read full review


Steven Stanley

Had Theatricum Botanicum simply revived Ibsen as written, audiences would have marveled at the play’s contemporary relevance. Had Ellen Geer been inspired by the 1882 original to write something brand new, the result would have been more rewarding. If the cast were performing several times a week, their work would have the razor-sharpness expected from a professional production. As is, An Enemy Of The People disappoints more often than it satisfies.

sour - Steven Stanley - StageSceneLA - ...read full review


Avatar

TB Artistic Director Ellen Geer is a master of adaptation and she went out on a limb on this one, bumping it forward 100 years, taking it to South Carolina, and adding the game-changing element of a racially mixed family.

sweet - Charles Andrews - Santa Monica Daily Press - ...read full review


Avatar

The dialogue is as easy to follow as its message is clear – the insistent search for the mighty dollar, the compulsion to fulfill personal interests without considering the welfare of others, and society’s nerve to punish and ignore those who speak up, are all actual enemies of the people.

sweet - Dena Burroughs - The Fume of Sighs - ...read full review


Paul Myrvold - Theatre Notes

With Ellen Geer vigorously adapting the Ibsen text as well as directing along with Melora Marshall, the play resonates with the concerns of today–the ever-creeping racism poking its ugly head up on a daily basis; the degradation of our planet; the careless, heedless rule of the politically corrupt. Christopher W. Jones as Doctor Stockman delivers some steamy, righteous sermons to the cast onstage, and then proceeds off the stage and up the stairs into the audience to drive his message home. We become the choir that is preached to.

sweet - Paul Myrvold - Theatre Notes - ...read full review


Avatar

Even as the current president of the United States calls certain newspapers “an enemy of the people,” this outstanding production takes risks to reveal chilling insights into our modern political system in this timeless and always relevant play.

sweet - Annemarie Donkin - Messenger Mountain News - ...read full review


Avatar

Ellen Geer freely adapted the moral dilemma presented – but placed the account in South Carolina. To further add to the problems faced by the more contemporary characters, Ellen Geer added issues of race in the American South in 1980 – and even threw in a Ku Klux Klan meeting of the time...

...I’m sure that Ibsen would have approved of the original play’s changes, which bring some contemporary and contentious issues to the fore.

sweet - Elaine Mura - Splash Magazines - ...read full review


Avatar

The co-directors not only draw finely etched renderings from their thespians but, as is a hallmark of plays performed at this amphitheater under the stars, make exciting use of Topanga’s sylvan glade, the hills and woods surrounding its rustic boards. Geer and Marshall direct a race riot onstage with a mise-en-scène that’s exciting, just like WGTB’s battles in Shakespearean epics such as Julius Caesar and the sit-on-the-edge-of-your-seat Nantucket sleigh ride in Moby Dick – Rehearsed.

sweet - Ed Rampell - Hollywood Progressive - ...read full review