The play’s themes touch on the power of language, questioning
authority, the comfort of the status quo and the power of majority — all
of which are masterfully portrayed by the talented artists
Although a dark story overall, "An
Enemy of the People" is not without humorous moments. Morton Kiil’s
(David Adamson) cantankerous nature drew laughs from the crowd from the
very beginning. Mayor Peter Stockmann (Anthony Newfield) offered
an unexpected route of comic relief despite his character’s
grim, almost evil, nature.
All characters in the production shined and
offered the most authentic of performances, especially French's portrayal of Dr. Stockmann, whose passion toward his cause could not have
seemed more genuine.
The two characters stationed in the
audience added an inclusive element to the overall production, making all watching feel like they themselves were citizens, attending the mass
meeting called by Dr. Stockmann. As the two audience-based actors
shouted out votes in favor of Dr. Stockmann, a regular audience member
joined in with a hearty “Yeah!”, becoming an unexpected voter at the town
Even beyond the phenomenal acting, the
brilliant staging and lighting of the production brought the play to a
heightened level. The falling rainwater and thunderstorm effects drew in
components of water, a central issue to the play, and represented the figurative
storm that was brewing in the town itself.
Additionally, the way the Stockmann household set moved back
to reveal the newspaper office in act one and the meeting platform in
act two offered impressive visuals for the audience.
began in the homey, cheery environment of the Stockmann household, where
audience members could feel the laughter and happiness as Dr. and Mrs.
Stockmann danced around the living room. When Dr. Stockmann sat down to puff his cigar, the hazy smoke drifting around the stage heightened the
lifelike effect as well as induced some coughs from the audience.
In act two, the drama, emotion and action of the play truly heated up.
The use of slow-motion movements, a high pitched ringing noise and
altered lighting as Aslaksen raised his gavel to signify the beginning
of the meeting clued the audience that something important was about to
happen. Throughout the rest of that scene as the riot broke out, this use of slow-motion and altered lighting technique was used tastefully as a means of
showing news-worthy photographic moments.
This incredible effect slowed
down the heightened intensity of the scene, while allowing audience
members to examine the action and emotion of the players very closely.
Following the meeting, the citizens stormed the Stockmann household in a
riveting and horrifying scene in which the entire set was destroyed.
The play’s final scene, during which water flooded down, hazy smoke filled
the stage, an angry mob sounded in the background and strobe lights
flickered over the Stockmann family, portrayed the true sense of
terror and danger the family faced on Dr. Stockmann’s quest for the
truth. The drama and emotional escalation of this finale left
audience members open-mouthed and wide-eyed as the powerful performance
came to its close.