Ibsen’s ‘An Enemy of the People’
NEW YORK—Science or business? Should we “drill, baby, drill” or do something about global warming (or at least admit that the danger exists)? The desire of business to make a profit without considering the environmental consequences is the subject of Ibsen’s “An Enemy of the People.”
The work is being presented in a new adaptation by Rebecca Lenkiewicz, which moves along quite quickly. The basic idea is Dr. Thomas Stockmann (Boyd Gaines) learns that the town spas are contaminated. He naively believes that he will be hailed as a hero for making this discovery. Instead, he is declared a public enemy by the townspeople, led by the Mayor, Peter Stockmann (Thomas’s brother, portrayed by Richard Thomas, who has specialized in evildoers on stage), because the revelation threatens the financial security of the area.
Gaines and Thomas shine as the opposing brothers. Director Doug Hughes deserves praise for the production, which is enhanced by John Lee Beatty’s set, Ben Stanton’s lighting, David Van Tieghem’s music and sound design, and Catherine Zuber’s costumes.
Presented by Manhattan Theatre Club, “An Enemy of the People” is running at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre (261 W. 47th St.; (212) 239-6200 or www.telecharge.com) until Nov. 18.
Theatre Review: ‘Him’
It’s always a pleasure to see Hallie Foote acting in plays by her late father Horton Foote. “Him” (which recently ended its run at the 59E59 Theaters in a Primary Stages production) shows that she is equally potent in works by her sister Daisy Foote.
The man referred to in the title never appears on-stage, though his shadow looms over everything and his words are quoted extensively. He is the father of three middle-aged adults: Pauline (Hallie Foote); Henry (Tim Hopper); and the mentally handicapped Farley (Adam LeFevre). The children run a nearly bankrupt general store in the small New Hampshire town. As Pauline describes their predicament, “Never found out what we were good at, developed skills, a way to make money. And now look where we are.”
By the second act, the father dies and Farley develops a romantic attachment to a mentally impaired woman who moves into the neighborhood (Adina Verson). Twists come from the discovery of the father’s diaries, which reveal that he had a secret love of nature, and the children’s inheritance of a valuable piece of land. Adroitly directed by Evan Yionoulis, “Him” confirms that any work with one or more members of the Foote name is worth seeking out.
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