Preview: An Enemy of the People

15 Sep

TARR GRAPHIC 01_enemy-1Tarragon ranks as one of Toronto’s most reliable theatre companies so there is good reason to be excited for their 2014-15 season debut, an adventurous take on Henrik Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People, which is helmed by Tarragon AD Richard Rose and features a cast jam packed with talented names (see the full press release included below). Previews start on September 16th and the show officially opens on the 24th. Tickets are available on the Tarragon website.

Tarragon Theatre launches its 2014-15 season with an English-language rendition of Florian Borchmeyer‘s and Thomas Ostermeier‘s celebrated adaptation and production of An Enemy of the People by Henrik Ibsen. In what promises to be one of the most exciting events of the theatre season in Toronto, this contemporary mirror for our times previews from September 16, opens September 24 and runs to October 26 in Tarragon’s Mainspace.

Richard Rose, Tarragon’s Artistic Director, explains: “I attended Florian Borchmeyer’s adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People in a production by Thomas Ostermeier at the Schaubühne Theatre, Berlin in May 2013. Their contemporary take – both in adaptation and production – spoke clearly, directly and with complexity to the current Canadian struggle of environment versus economy. With the support of Florian Borchmeyer and  Thomas Ostermeier, I am honoured that we will be able to stage a version of their compelling production.”Written in 1882, Ibsen’s parable echoes the questions of today as it grapples with how we balance our conscience and our comfort – censored scientists, environmental crises, anarchist manifestos and the pitfalls of majority rule. As Rose recalls: “Tar sands, climate change, fracking, pipelines, Walkerton, the cod and salmon fisheries, tailing ponds and ethical oil; all came to mind as I experienced this production. I knew instantly that we had to produce it.”

Tarragon’s international playwright-in-residence, Maria Milisavljevic, translates Florian Borchmeyer’s adaptation which sets the classic but timely drama in a 21st-century spa town.

The Chief Medical Officer of a small Norwegian town, Dr. Thomas Stockmann, has made a shocking discovery, but to go public with his test results will spell the end of his town’s prosperity. The people don’t know that the newly-built Baths are contaminated with industrial waste, and if the world finds out, it will send the community into economic collapse. What is in the public interest when what is good for the economy comes into conflict with what is good for the environment? Is democracy the form of government best suited to address environmental problems?

Rose has pulled together an exceptionally talented ensemble for this thrilling work. Award-winning film, television and stage actor Joe Cobden (Tarragon’s Little One, Soulpepper’s Twelve Angry Men) portrays Dr. Stockmann; Rick Roberts (2014 ACTRA Toronto Award for title role in CBC-TV movie Jack about Jack Layton;

Tarragon’s The Small Room at the Top of the Stairs, Molière, John and Beatrice) plays his brother and town councillor who is also Chairman of the Baths’ board of directors. Tom Barnett (Tarragon’s Courageous, How It Works; Theatre Passe Muraille / Mirvish national tour of The Drawer Boy), Matthew Edison (Tarragon’s The Real World?, Forests; Canadian Stage’s Amadeus, Proof) and Brandon McGibbon (Tarragon’s Forests, The Misanthrope; Broadway’s ONCE) portray the publisher, editor and reporter of the local newspaper. Richard McMillan (11 seasons at Stratford Festival; Tarragon’s After Akhmatova, Molière; four Dora Awards) is Stockmann’s father-in-law, and Tamara Podemski (first Canadian actress and first Native American to win Special Jury Prize for Acting at Sundance Film Festival, original Canadian cast of RENT then RENT on Broadway, Bruce  McDonald’s film Dance  Me  Outside) plays Stockmann’s wife.Set and costume design is by Michelle Tracey, lighting design by Jason Hand, sound design by Thomas Ryder Payne. The stage manager is Marinda de Beer.

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