A couple of weeks ago I reviewed An Enemy of the People at the Gate Theatre for Irish Theatre Magazine. It’s a good production and I’d encourage people to see it. Below is an excerpt from the review. The original with images and a full list of cast and crew is online here: http://www.irishtheatremagazine.ie/Reviews/Current/An-Enemy-of-the-People
Ibsen’s 1882 An Enemy of the People is sometimes described as a problem play, in that it dramatises a debate between two brothers about the nature of morality and individual responsibility. But that term might obscure the fact that it’s also quite a confused play: Ibsen himself was unsure whether to see it as a comedy or something more serious.
It has many of the ingredients of a Restoration-style romp (improbable entrances and exits, characters hiding behind screens to eavesdrop upon others). Yet it also has what Ibsen called a “serious basic theme” – namely, the question of what happens when an individual forces a society to accept as true something we would rather ignore. In exploring that issue, Ibsen was responding to the public outcry to Ghosts, a play notoriously described as an “open sewer” and a “loathsome sore unbandaged” by scandalised critics. Ibsen’s hero Dr Stockmann is thus often seen as a surrogate for Ibsen himself, and the play’s suggestion that the truth must be told, whatever the cost, is often viewed as Ibsen’s defence of the necessity for plays like Ghosts. But because of that identification between the writer and his hero, it’s sometimes forgotten that Ibsen was ambivalent about Stockmann, describing him as “an oddball and a hothead”, while also acknowledging that there was much to admire about him.
READ THE REST OF THE REVIEW HERE: http://www.irishtheatremagazine.ie/Reviews/Current/An-Enemy-of-the-People