An Enemy of the People – Review by Bonnie Goldberg

WHO IS “THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE” AT YALE REP

If you are under the delusion that you will be applauded and rewarded for exposing a public disgrace, in the sense of being a whistleblower, you may be sadly disappointed. Instead of accolades and parades, you may be vilified and ostracized for your courageous actions. Imagine for a moment you live in a lovely Norwegian community where a health spa attracts tourists and medical patients for its restorative waters, one where the economy of the town resides with the beneficial springs.

The Yale Repertory Theatre will be focusing itself on one such community in the timely drama “An Enemy of the People” by Henrik Ibsen at the University Theatre until Saturday, October 28. Paul Walsh has provided an exceptional new translation for this tale for this talented cast to explore.

One moment two brothers, one the mayor Peter Stockmann (Enrico Colantoni) and the other a prominent doctor Dr. Thomas Stockmann (Reg Rogers) are congratulating themselves on the highly successful and lucrative endeavor, the health spa, they have created. The next moment the amicable and cooperative spirit has exploded when the doctor, after extensive research and verification, announces that the springs are contaminated, due to improper pipes and plumbing and must be replaced. If not, participants will become ill due to the toxicity of the baths.

Thomas is proud that he has uncovered this damaging fact, ever the physician caring for his patients, while Peter views the situation as an economic and political disaster. The town relies on the spa for its livelihood. The repairs to the pipes, if they are made will cost a fortune and take two years to complete. How will the shop owners survive without a steady stream of visitors?

The good doctor feels he has a responsibility to the citizens by revealing the danger, while the mayor feels an equal responsibility to keep the poisons secret, after all they are merely “conjectures” or “fake news” if you will.

To whom will the town side? How will the power of the press in the hands of Billing (Ben Anderson), Hovstad (Bobby Roman) and Aslaksen (Tyrone Mitchell Henderson) sway opinions? Will the doctor’s family, his wife (Joey Parsons), his daughter (Stephanie Machado) and sons (Atticus L. Burrello and James Jisoo Maroney) remain loyal?

Will the sea captain (Setareki Wainiqolo) be the only one to remain steadfast at the doctor’s side? What role does Thomas’ father-in-law (Jarlath Conroy) play in the drama? Who is, in fact, the enemy of the people? James Bundy has directed a dramatic verbal match of wits that gives sibling rivalry a new target.

For tickets ($12-99), call the Yale Rep at 203-432-1234 or online at www.yalerep.org. Performances are Tuesday-Friday at 8 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Come discover for yourself, in the thrilling confrontation, if the strongest man in the whole world is the one who stands most alone.

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