Interview: Clark Nicholson of AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE at Gamut Theatre Group

By: Feb. 26, 2020
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Interview: Clark Nicholson of AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE at Gamut Theatre Group

Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen's 1882 work An Enemy of the People was adapted by Arthur Miller, opening at the Broadhurst Theatre in 1950. Originally written in response to Ibsen's challenging of the hypocrisy of morality in the 19th century exemplified in his play Ghosts, An Enemy of the People explores the complicated and murky themes of power, truth, and morality. In their production of An Enemy of the People, Gamut Theatre Group will delve into these themes and more. You can catch this production February 29-March 15. Clark Nicholson, who plays the role of Dr. Stockman, took a few moments to give our readers a sneak peek into Gamut's upcoming production of An Enemy of the People.

BWW: Tell us a little about yourself.

Nicholson: I'm Clark Nicholson, Artistic Director and Founder of Gamut Theatre Group. I'm also playing Dr. Stockman, the "enemy of the people" in our upcoming production of Arthur Miller's adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's play.

BWW: What is it about this play that made you want to be involved in it?

Nicholson: Frank Henley approached Gamut about presenting a staged reading of the work because it had very timely themes. He was, as was I, very concerned that the President of the United States frequently used this powerful and dangerous phrase to refer to the American Press. I told Frank that we should not present it as a staged reading, but as a fully produced Gamut main stage production

BWW: What is the most challenging aspect of this show for you as an actor?

Nicholson: I would say that the most challenging thing for me is doing justice to the main character of Ibsen's story without trying to "clean him up". He has a serious and important message for his fellow citizens, but he is a complicated and significantly flawed protagonist. He confuses the righteousness of his warning with a perceived personal saintliness. This makes his fall one that comes from a much greater and more significant height.

BWW: Gamut productions are known for including unique elements. Without giving away too much about the production, can you give us a clue to something in this production that is a quintessential Gamut touch?

Nicholson: Frank decided to set this production in the early 1970's, a time that we count as the beginning of a worldwide awakening to the perils of environmental calamity, much like the one portrayed in Ibsen's play.

BWW: What is your favorite thing about this production?

Nicholson: I love the ensemble and their eagerness to get to the bottom of presenting a time, place, and population which are largely unfamiliar to them.

BWW: This play covers a number of topics that are "hot button" issues today-the environment, media, economics, public health, morality, truth, corruption and power, and so forth. What do you hope audiences will take home with them after seeing this production?

Nicholson: I hope that they reflect on the fact that all messengers are human, and therefore flawed. The appropriateness of the message should not hang on the necessary purity of the messenger.

BWW: Is there anything else you'd like our readers to know?

Nicholson: Theatre is not best at providing answers. When it attempts to do that, it has a tendency to promote propaganda. So, I'd like for our audiences to leave the Gamut with good and helpful questions.

To experience this thought-provoking, question-inducing production of An Enemy of the People, visit www.gamuttheatre.org.



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