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.