An Enemy of the People

Enemy-keyartWe went to see An Enemy of the People at the Manhattan Theater Club this past week.  This particular play was written by Henrik Ibsen in 1882.  He wrote this play in response to the public outcry from another play he wrote that had indecent references to syphilis. 

Knowing that the play was written in 1882 made it even more interesting.  This play could have taken place today.  It is essentially about the corrupt political system and the irrational reactions of the masses.  The play focuses on one man who stuggles to do the right thing and speak out against the leaders of the town who want to turn a blind eye.  The leaders of the town would rather not spend the money to fix the issues because it will destroy their livelihood.  We have all seen this movie before and know how it ends.  Those issues eventually come back to haunt you but the play does not end on that note.

The play is the pull between the Republicans, the Democrats and the masses who vote for them.  That is how I saw it.  The Republicans ran this town.  They wanted to keep the money for themselves and were not so concerned that the effects were going to make people seriously ill because they didn't have to pay for it, they kept their pockets full and they could spin it if things went bad later on.  The Democrats wanted to do good by fixing the problems even though it would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars but it was the right thing to do.  The masses just reacted to their taxes. 

The play was a little long.  The acting was good and some actors were fantastic.  The most interesting thing is that nothing changes because if a play written in 1882 about how people react to issues is no different than how the masses react in 2012, it says something about humankind. 

Best quote of the play  "…the strongest man in the world is the man who stands most alone."

Comments (Archived):

  1. Jay Trien

    Joanne:I think you miss the point when you turn the story into a Reps vs. Dems. The play is about how hard it is to make an ethical choice. The baths that attract visitors to the town are the financial life of the whole town, but they’re poisoned and taking the lives of those visitors. It is the whole town that will kill the one man who needs to tell the truth; not left right or unaffiliated, but the whole venal mob. Only one man has the integrity to tell the truth. But, that truth risks the survival of the whole town and the whole town wants him to shut up. If you heard 1% vs 99% blame the director. Read the original play and know to fear the mob.Jay

    1. Gotham Gal

      fair enough. i got what you wrote too. maybe it is the political nonsense getting to me