On the heels of the world premiere production of Blind Date, Goodman Theatre Artistic Director Robert Falls is back in the rehearsal room for his new adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People. Nearly 150 years after Ibsen’s masterpiece first thrilled audiences, it “is startling how current the play's ideas feel" (The New York Times) as it examines the complexities of corruption, greed and destruction of the environment and remains “a play so necessary, so exhilarating to experience." (The Village Voice) Falls directs his adaptation, based on a translation by Eleanor Marx-Aveling, with a cast featuring Philip Earl Johnson as Thomas Stockmann, doctor and chief medical officer of the baths; Scott Jaeck as Peter Stockmann, Thomas’ older brother and town mayor; Lanise Antoine Shelley as Katherine, Thomas’ wife; Rebecca Hurd as Thomas’ daughter, Petra. Rounding out the cast are Jesse Bhamrah (Billing), David Darlow (Morten Kiil), Allen Gilmore (Aslaksen), Aubrey Deeker Hernandez (Hovstad), Larry Neumann, Jr. (The Drunk) and Carley Cornelius, Arya Daire, Guy Massey, Roderick Peeples and Dustin Whitehead as townspeople. The design team includes Todd Rosenthal (set), Ana Kuzmanic (costumes), Robert Wierzel (lights), Richard Woodbury (sound and original music). Alden Vasquez is the production stage manager. An Enemy of the People appears in the Goodman’s Albert Theatre March 10 – April 15. Tickets ($25 - $80; subject to change) are now on sale at GoodmanTheatre.org/Enemy, by phone at 312.443.3800 or at the box office (170 North Dearborn).
“Any theater artist will inevitably confront the genius of 19th century Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen and I’m thrilled to take on this challenge with an incredible ensemble of actors and designers,” said Artistic Director Robert Falls. “I was compelled to adapt and direct An Enemy of the People both by our country’s political tumult and by the play’s complex treatment of myriad topics—from how we view our fellow humans, to public good versus individual rights, to the pitfalls of democracy. Though the play was written nearly 150 years ago, I find its themes remarkably fresh and the questions it raises just as perplexing as they must have been to 19th century audiences.”
When a water contamination crisis puts their community in peril, two brothers—Dr. Stockmann (Johnson) and Mayor Stockmann ( Jaeck)—face off in a battle of political ambitions and moral integrity. Triggered by the criticism and controversy of his earlier plays--A Doll’s House (1879) and Ghosts (1882)—Ibsen authored An Enemy of the People as a partial response to his critics. He felt angry that his discussion of what he considered important was being scrutinized and determined to examine the underbellies of marriage, sex and middle class society.
Falls’ staging of An Enemy of the People is the latest in the Goodman’s six-decade history of producing Ibsen and works inspired by the writer’s plays. Most recently, Falls directed the 2005 world premiere of Dollhouse, a modern-day take on Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, adapted by Goodman Artistic Associate Rebecca Gilman. Previous Ibsen works at the Goodman also include Arthur Miller’s adaptation of An Enemy of the People (1980), A Doll’s House (1973), Hedda Gabler (1962) and The Master Builder (1953). Following this production, Falls will remount his Lyric Opera of Chicago production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni for the Dallas Opera (April 2018), and this summer, he will direct Stacy Keach as Ernest Hemingway in the return of Jim McGrath’s Pamplona.
ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT AND DIRECTOR
HENRIK IBSEN (Playwright, 1828 - 1906) was born in Skien, Norway, Ibsen was apprenticed at age 15 to an apothecary, a situation he detested. He wrote poetry to escape his misery and at 20 attended the university in Christiania (now Oslo). Within a short time his plays were being published and produced at the Christiania Theatre. In 1851, he was appointed to the theater at Bergen, where he served as director, designer and resident playwright. After six years learning his craft in Bergen, Ibsen moved back to Christiania, again working as a theater manager and artistic advisor. Plays from this period, such as The Vikings at Helgeland (1858) and Loves Comedy (1862), stirred up controversy on their first appearances. In 1864, Ibsen applied to the government for a poet's stipend; when it was refused, he exiled himself from Norway. The injustice he felt at this denial helped propel his two early masterpieces, the verse dramas Brand (1866) and Peer Gynt (1867). Ibsen spent most of his years of exile in Germany, though he frequently spent months at a time in Italy. He returned briefly to Norway for the publication of his huge epic Emperor and Galilean (1873). He published A Doll's House in 1879, followed by Ghosts (1881), An Enemy of the People (1882), The Wild Duck (1884), Rosmersholm (1886), The Lady from the Sea (1888), Hedda Gabler (1890), The Master Builder (1892), Little Eyolf (1894) and John Gabriel Borkman (1896). When We Dead Awaken, Ibsen's last play and a grand culmination of his themes, appeared in 1900. He returned to Christiania in 1891 to live out his life and died in 1906 after suffering a physical and mental breakdown.
ROBERT FALLS (Goodman Theatre Artistic Director) previously directed at the Goodman the world premiere of Rogelio Martinez’s Blind Date. He also partnered with Goodman Playwright-in-Residence Seth Bockley to direct their world premiere adaptation of Roberto Bolaño’s 2666 (Jeff Award for Best Adaptation). Additional recent productions include The Iceman Cometh for the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Rebecca Gilman’s Luna Gale for the Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles, Measure for Measure and the world and off-Broadway premieres of Beth Henley’s The Jacksonian. Among his other credits are The Seagull, King Lear, Desire Under the Elms, John Logan’s Red, Jon Robin Baitz’s Three Hotels, Eric Bogosian’s Talk Radio and Conor McPherson’s Shining City; the world premieres of Richard Nelson’s Frank’s Home, Arthur Miller’s Finishing the Picture, Eric Bogosian’s Griller, Steve Tesich’s The Speed of Darkness and On the Open Road and Rebecca Gilman’s A True History of the Johnstown Flood, Blue Surge and Dollhouse; the American premiere of Alan Ayckbourn’s House and Garden; and the Broadway premiere of Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida. Falls’ honors for directing include, among others, a Tony Award (Death of a Salesman), a Drama Desk Award (Long Day’s Journey into Night), an Obie Award (subUrbia), a Helen Hayes Award (King Lear) and multiple Jeff Awards (including a 2012 Jeff Award for The Iceman Cometh). For “outstanding contributions to theater,” Falls has been recognized with such prestigious honors as the Savva Morozov Diamond Award (Moscow Art Theatre), the O’Neill Medallion (Eugene O’Neill Society), the Distinguished Service to the Arts Award (Lawyers for the Creative Arts), the Illinois Arts Council Governor’s Award and induction into the Theater Hall of Fame.
TICKETS, DISCOUNTS AND SPECIAL EVENTS
Tickets ($25-80; subject to change) – GoodmanTheatre.org/Enemy; 312.443.3800; Fax: 312.443.3825; TTY/TDD: 312.443.3829
Box Office Hours –12noon - 5pm; on performance days, the box office remains open until 30 minutes past curtain
MezzTix – Half-price day-of-performance mezzanine tickets available at 10am online (promo code MEZZTIX)
$10Tix – Student $10 day-of tickets; limit four, with valid student ID (promo code 10TIX)
Group Sales are available for parties 10 ; 312.443.3820
Gift Certificates – Available in any amount; GoodmanTheatre.org/GiftCertificates
ARTIST ENCOUNTER –March 11 at 5pm | Goodman Theatre
Tickets are $10 for general public; free for Goodman Members. Join Artistic Director Robert Falls for an in-depth conversation about the play. GoodmanTheatre.org/Enemy
ACCESSIBILITY AT THE GOODMAN
Touch Tour, April 7 at 12:30pm – A presentation detailing the set, costume and character elements.
Audio Described Performance, April 7 at 2pm – The action/text is audibly enhanced for patrons via headset.
ASL Interpreted Performance, April 11 at 7:30pm – Professional ASL interpreter signs the action/text as played.
Open Captioned Performance, April 14 at 2pm – An LED sign presents dialogue in sync with the performance.
Visit GoodmanTheatre.org/Access for more information about Goodman Theatre’s accessibility efforts.
ABOUT GOODMAN THEATRE
AMERICA’S “BEST REGIONAL THEATRE” (Time magazine), Goodman Theatre is a premier not-for-profit organization distinguished by the excellence and scope of its artistic programming and civic engagement. Led by Artistic Director Robert Falls and Executive Director Roche Schulfer, the theater’s artistic priorities include new play development (more than 150 world or American premieres), large scale musical theater works and reimagined classics (celebrated revivals include Falls’ productions of Death of a Salesman and The Iceman Cometh). Goodman Theatre artists and productions have earned two Pulitzer Prizes, 22 Tony Awards, over 160 Jeff Awards and many more accolades. In addition, the Goodman is the first theater in the world to produce all 10 plays in August Wilson’s “American Century Cycle” and its annual holiday tradition A Christmas Carol, which celebrated its 40th anniversary this season, has created a new generation of theatergoers. The Goodman also frequently serves as a production partner with local off-Loop theaters and national and international companies by providing financial support or physical space for a variety of artistic endeavors.
Committed to three core values of Quality, Diversity and Community, the Goodman proactively makes inclusion the fabric of the institution and develops education and community engagement programs that support arts as education. This practice uses the process of artistic creation to inspire and empower youth, lifelong learners and audiences to find and/or enhance their voices, stories and abilities. The Goodman’s Alice Rapoport Center for Education and Engagement is the home of such programming, most offered free of charge, and has vastly expanded the theater’s ability to touch the lives of Chicagoland citizens (with 85% of youth participants coming from underserved communities) since its 2016 opening.
Goodman Theatre was founded by William O. Goodman and his family in honor of their son Kenneth, an important figure in Chicago’s cultural renaissance in the early 1900s. The Goodman family’s legacy lives on through the continued work and dedication of Kenneth’s family, including Albert Ivar Goodman, who with his late mother, Edith-Marie Appleton, contributed the necessary funds for the creation of the new Goodman center in 2000.
Today, Goodman Theatre leadership also includes the distinguished members of the Artistic Collective: Brian Dennehy, Rebecca Gilman, Henry Godinez, Dael Orlandersmith, Steve Scott, Chuck Smith, Regina Taylor,Henry Wishcamper and Mary Zimmerman. David W. Fox, Jr. is Chair of Goodman Theatre’s Board of Trustees, Cynthia K. Scholl is Women’s Board President and Justin A. Kulovsek is President of the Scenemakers Board for young professionals.
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