"Getting used to things we have no business getting used to"

Nov 7, 2019

Addison Sim as Dr. Thomas Stockmann
Credit Brett Groehler/UMD

The renaissance of Henrik Ibsen's play "The Enemy of the People" over the last few years has been so pronounced even the New York Times took note of it.

The 1882 script is a tale of what director Tom Isbell calls "the fractious intersection between self-interest and the common good" - or more specifically, between the environment and jobs.

With that in mind, it would have been easy to remake the script into a hyper-local look at these intersections in our own community.  But Isbell, who wrote the adaptation to update the language and create a more even distribution of the story between male and female characters ("Ibsen, writing in the late 19th century, gave the men all the good stuff to do"), deliberately chose to move the script away from "regional specificity" and more toward timelessness.

Rachel Williams as Petra Stockmann and Addison Sim as Dr. Thomas Stockmann
Credit Brett Groehler/UMD