BWW Review: ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE at Centenary Stage is a Powerful and Important Show for Our Times
"What I do, I do for the sake of the truth and the sake of my conscience."
-by Dr. Thomas Stockmann in Enemy of the People
Henrik Ibsen's Enemy of the People is now being presented by Centenary Stage Company (CSC) through March 3 in the Sitnik Theatre of the Lackland Performing Arts Center in Hackettstown. The play is adapted by John Alan Wyatt and splendidly directed by Anne Occhiogrosso. Written in 1882, this is an absorbing story about the scourge of power and corruption reflected against one man's honesty and integrity. The CSC production of Ibsen's classic, yet timeless tale is praiseworthy. The production has excellent staging and outstanding cast.
Enemy of the People takes place in a town on the south coast of Norway where Dr. Thomas Stockmann is the Chief Medical Officer of his town. When he produces evidence that the local baths are contaminated and unhealthy, many people, including his brother, the mayor, are alarmed by his findings. The baths are a major source of income for the town, and the rich and influential individuals prefer to reject information that would discourage visitors. Stockton is soon dubbed "Enemy of the People." But he holds fast to the truth, even though this act of integrity threatens his career and the future of his family. The story draws a stark contrast between Dr. Stockmann and the people who are utilizing government for their own self-interest and profit.
Randall Duk Kim commands the stage as Dr. Thomas Stockmann. He is joined by talented cast members that include Colleen Smith-Wallnau as Mrs. Katherine Stockmann; Brianna Morris as Petra; David Cantor as Peter Stockmann; David Sitler as Morten Kill; Michael Gabriel Goodfriend as Hovstad; Nick Bettens as Billing; Michael Irvin Pollard as Aslaksen; Chris Kolwicz as Horster; Dominick Lusardi as Ejlif; and Finley Vaniman as Morten. The cast is rounded out by professional and local talent from the tri-state area and Centenary University who play the Other Newspaper Staff and Townspeople.
The many captivating scenes include Dr. Stockmann opening the letter that reveals his findings about the baths; Hovstad and Billing in the newspaper office discussing publication of the Doctor's findings; Peter's threats to Dr. Stockmann's career; the Stockmann family uniting to support the Doctor; and the big town meeting.
The Artistic Staff has done a terrific job of bringing Enemy of the People to the stage. They include set design by Tim Golebiewski; costume design by Ashleigh Poteat; lighting design by Ethan Newman; and sound design by Carlos Dias, Jr. The Scenic Artist is ToniAnne DiFilippo; Stage Manager is Danielle Constance; Assistant Stage Managers are Kelly Fitzgerald and Sydney Fucito; the Fight Choreographer is Stephen Davis.
In our turbulent political times, Enemy of the People proves to be very relevant. This powerful play underscores the importance of standing up for what is right, a message that all people should hold dear. We applaud Centenary Stage Company for making the show available to area audiences.
An Enemy of the People runs through March 3 in the Sitnik Theatre of the Lackland Performing Arts Center. The full-scale production marks the culmination of the 2018 Gates Ferry Lecture Series: "What is Truth?" Tickets are $25.00 for adults for matinee performances, $27.50 for adults on Friday evenings and $29.50 for adults on Saturday evenings. Thursday evening performances are $27.50 for all seats with a buy-one-get-one free rush ticket special. To purchase tickets, call the Centenary Stage Company box office at (908) 979 0900 or visit http://centenarystageco.org/.
Photo Credit: Pat Lanciano