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An Enemy of the People: A New Version by Christopher Hampton

An Enemy of the People: A New Version by Christopher Hampton
Your Price: $16.95 CDN
Author: Henrik Ibsen
Translated by: Christopher Hampton
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 130
Pub. Date: 1998
ISBN-10: 057119429X
ISBN-13: 9780571194292
Cast Size: 2 women, 8 men, 1 boy

About the Play:

"The strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone." Dr Stockmann

An Enemy of the People is a full-length drama by Henrik Ibsen, translated by Christopher Hampton. When the famous and financially successful baths in his home town spa center are contaminated, the local doctor insists they be shut down for expensive repairs, causing upheaval among the townsfolk. A stirring drama about one man's lonely struggle against official corruption, An Enemy of the People is an explosive play by Henrik Ibsen, which reveals his distrust of politicians and the blindly held beliefs of the masses.

An Enemy of the People depicts the struggle between independent thought and the oft-corrupt, irrational nature of the masses. In a small coastal Norwegian town, new medicinal baths have become a source of pride, hope and anticipated prosperity. Just as tourists begin to pour into town, Dr. Thomas Stockmann – a well-admired doctor and a leader of the baths project – makes a disturbing discovery: the baths, on which the spa's prosperity depends, are contaminated with dangerous waste from a nearby tannery. Luckily technology has a ready solution: the polluted baths must close immediately, so cleansing and rebuilding work can be carried out. But not everyone sees things quite so simply. What about the impact of closure on tourism, property and commerce? What about the town's wider image and reputation? Dr Stockmann's brother, the Mayor, has one drastic response. The local tradespeople and property owners have another. Now it is up to the liberal press. Dare they print the facts Dr Stockmann has uncovered, and let the public make up their own minds? As Stockmann publicizes his findings, the townspeople – even his former allies and friends – turn against him and revile him as an "enemy of the people" for attempting to thwart their new town attraction. Henrik Ibsen's thrilling play is a searing examination of the intricate workings of power and influence, and an investigation into who holds real authority in society.

An Enemy of the People premiered in Norway in 1883, and Christopher Hampton's version of Henrik Ibsen's political masterpiece premiered at London's National Theatre in 1997. It's been a popular and a favourite play for regional and community theatre productions ever since.

Cast: 2 women, 8 men, 1 boy

What people say:

"An unequivocal triumph." — Times Literary Supplement (London)

"Christopher Hampton's new version of the text is also a revelation... An Enemy of the People has been reborn as a passionate current debate about the value of the individual... The dust has been blown off the original text, and it will not settle for a long time... There is a vitality, vehemence and victory here against the odds." — Spectator (London)

"More than any revival of Ibsen's plays I've seen, it creates a sense of place vital to the theme... An Enemy of the People is little short of superb, for it gives us both a big, rich, public play and the private drama of two men locked in rivalry that probably goes back to the playpen... You want an unforgettable picture of the idealist at his most necessary yet impossible? Here it is." — The Times (London)

About the Playwright:

Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906) is one of the most-performed dramatists in the world. He is revered in Norway as its most famous author and a national symbol, even though he spent much of his life abroad in Italy and Germany. He was largely responsible for the rise of realism in the theatre. In works that possess revelatory power Ibsen challenged his audiences to question conventional morality and social conditions. Often controversial, his works were deeply unsettling to many of his Victorian contemporaries. He is now widely regarded as the "father of modern drama" and one of the greatest dramatists who ever lived.

Christopher Hampton is a British playwright, screenwriter, director, producer, and a consummate translator and adaptor of novels. He is perhaps most famous for his play Les Liaisons Dangereuses (based on the novel by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos), which won an Olivier Award in 1986. He adapted the play for film and won an Oscar for the screenplay. His theatre work includes the stage adaptation of Sunset Boulevard for Andrew Lloyd Webber, which received Tony Awards for both Book and Lyrics. He has translated a wide range of works including classics by Chekhov, Ibsen and Moliere as well as contemporary plays by Yasmina Reza and Florian Zeller. His long list of screenplays includes A Doll's House, The Good Father, Total Eclipse, and The Quiet American.