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Paragon Springs

Paragon Springs
Your Price: $16.95 CDN
Author: Steven Dietz
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 81
Pub. Date: 2011
ISBN-10: 0822224682
ISBN-13: 9780822224686
Cast Size: 4 women, 6 men

About the Play:

Paragon Springs is a full-length drama by Steven Dietz, based on Ibsen's An Enemy of the People. The middle-American town of Paragon Springs boils when Dr. Thomas Stockman pries into the contamination of its famous "healing waters." Is he a hero of democracy or an enemy of the people? The ensuing political gamesmanship pits truth against power, husband against wife, brother against brother. Can the town survive? Especially recommended for school and contest use.

Paragon Springs is a town with a secret. It is 1926 in the American heartland, and the famed "healing waters" of the town's warm springs are a point of civic pride and the tourists who come to bath in the springs are the main source of the town's prosperity. Dr. Thomas Stockman, the chief medical officer of the springs, has discovered a problem. The water is dangerously contaminated. Stockman's discovery plunges the town into confusion as the Mayor undertakes to manage the crisis by discrediting the doctor. In this vibrant, often funny, and highly theatrical American resetting of Henrik Ibsen's famed social drama, An Enemy of the People, Steven Dietz puts the lure of capitalism and the greed of small-town self-interest squarely on trial – laced with Dr. Stockman's lasting cry that "the majority is always wrong!" This is an entertaining and illuminating drama with powerful contemporary resonance. From Flint Michigan to the waters of Southwest Florida, this is a timely play about the human cost of political gamesmanship.

Paragon Springs premiered in 2000 at Milwaukee Repertory Theatre in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Since then the play had regional premieres at professional theatres across the US and is regularly performed in high school, college, and community theatre productions.

Cast: 4 women, 6 men

What people say:

"Steven Dietz has written a masterpiece. Dietz makes his freely adapted version of Ibsen's An Enemy of the People resonate powerfully for our time – confronting the enduring issues of pollution, cover-ups, whistle-blowing, greed, populism, social responsibility and personal integrity. Dietz unfolds and details the story with a gifted use of language, including a great diatribe against the evils of majority-pandering, full of such passion and truth that it needs to be heard again and again." — Shepherd Express

"A playwright who loves to stir the pot, Steven Dietz is well-matched in his firebrand adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's An Enemy of the People. This very American potboiler reinvents the danger of thwarting public opinion. Dietz moves the action from nineteenth-century Norway to 1926 Wisconsin, a time filled with the pride that precedes a fall. Along with Ibsen's bitter critique of the supposed freedom of the press, Dietz depicts the power of the newly perfected radio to rouse the rabble to a false cause." — Chicago Free Press

"Dietz's Paragon Springs is an inspired reworking of An Enemy of the People. By moving the story to the American Midwest of the 1920s, he has allowed it to breathe a kind of Sinclair Lewis–like air that is both bracing and apt. The sea change works wonders, resulting in a play that feels fresh, immediate and, at moments, even comic. Paragon Springs raises fascinating questions about the nature of democracy and the role of consensus vs. that of the individual maverick. The play is not just vivid, compelling, and filled with complex characters – it is also eerily prophetic." — The Chicago Sun-Times

"This is theatre at its zenith. An intensely powerful show that reminds us of the moral quandaries of modern society. Dietz roots his play in Ibsen's storytelling style, yet Dietz has given Paragon Springs a distinctly American tone." — ChicagoCritic.com

About the Playwright:

Steven Dietz is one of America's most widely-produced and published contemporary playwrights. Since 1983, his thirty-plus plays have been seen at over one hundred regional theatres in the United States, as well as Off-Broadway. International productions have been seen in over 20 countries and his work has been translated into 10 languages. He teaches playwriting and directing at the University of Texas at Austin.

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