Tarragon Theatre Opens Its 2014-2015 Season with AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE, 9/24-10/26
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 filmDance 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.
Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906) was a Norwegian playwright who authored some of modern theatre's most celebrated plays: Brand (1865), A Doll's House (1868), Peer Gynt (1876), Ghosts (1881), An Enemy of the People (1882), Rosmersholm (1886), Hedda Gabler (1890) andThe Master Builder (1892). Ibsen is widely considered to be one of the most important playwrights of the modern era.
Richard Rose is the Artistic Director of Tarragon Theatre. Prior to joining Tarragon in 2002, Rose was Founding Artistic Director at Necessary Angel (a position he held from 1978-2002), Associate Director for Canadian Stage Company, Director of the Stratford Festival Young Company and spent ten seasons directing at the Stratford Festival. He has directed plays across Canada, the United States, and in London's West End in styles ranging from the environmental to the classical. Rose is well known for developing new work, including four plays that won the Governor General's Award and nine other nominated plays. He is a four-time Dora Award winner for direction and production and has had numerous nominations. He has also been honoured with a Doctorate of Sacred Letters (jure dignitatus) from Thorneloe University (Sudbury, his home town), the Canada Council Walter Carsen Award for Excellence in the Arts and the City of Toronto's Barbara Hamilton Award for the same.
Tarragon Theatre gratefully acknowledges annual operating support from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Toronto Arts Council.
Tarragon Theatre is one of Canada's most important arts institutions. For more than 40 years, it has worked tirelessly to develop home-grown artists and contribute to Canadian culture. Tarragon's mission is to create, develop and produce new plays, and to provide the conditions for new work to thrive. Since its founding, over 190 works have premiered at Tarragon and over 500 scripts have been created and workshopped, receiving 33 nominations and 11 wins for the Governor General's Literary Award. Tarragon received the 2012 Premier's Award for Excellence in the Arts in recognition of producing and developing leading edge and thought-provoking Canadian Theatre, both nationally and on the world stage. Richard Rose has been the Artistic Director since 2002. For more information visitwww.tarragontheatre.com.