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Centerstage Performs an Ibsen Masterpiece

Sep 12, 2012 05:43PM ● By Anonymous

This September and October, Centerstage will be putting on Arthur Miller’s adaption of the Henrik Ibsen’s classic, An Enemy of the People. In his first season as Artistic Director, Kwame Kwei-Armah will be putting on this riviting1800s drama, which exposes themes of majority versus minority, political hypocrisy, and sacrifice for truth.

The story is about two brothers, one a doctor and the other a mayor. When Dr. Stockmann discovers that the community baths—that brought pride and wealth to the town—are contaminated and causing illness, he notifies his brother with a possible solution. But due to the prosperity of the baths, the mayor brushes Dr. Stockmann’s concerns under the rug and turns the people of the town against him. Many theater buffs consider Ibsen and Miller two of the most influential playwrights in history. Director Kwei-Armah pronounces, “Ibsen really is the father of modernism and Arthur Miller is, in my opinion, the father of American modernism”.

Just as Arthur Miller adapted this great work, so has Kwei- Armah. In his opinion, there is no point producing a well-known play if you have nothing to contribute. “It doesn’t mean add or to make better, it just means to augment and play with,” he says. When choosing this play, Kwei-Armah wanted the opportunity to play and dance with two minds that he loves and adores. His per- sonal flavor will be in programming it, “I think it has something to say to the here and now. What I’m trying to move toward is making this play live today, live in Baltimore today, in Maryland today,” says Kwei-Armah, who also points out that the topic of water in An Enemy of the People is current. “Water is a feature in our life, it’s a feature of the harbor; we debate it all of the time. Particularly in Baltimore City, it is part of who and what we are and what we’ve become.”

Another exciting feature of the play is the use of video projections for the purpose of accessing the visual moving world that the projections will hopefully create.

Kwei-Armah’s overarching goal is to simply make the play feel contemporary. He believes An Enemy of the People is a must-see because it the subject matter relates to Baltimore and Maryland. Ibsen utilized a critical eye and free inquiry into the conditions of life and issues of morality to create great works. Similarly, Mr. Kwei-Armah is hopeful the production itself will leave the audience able to think about the issues and the human dimension in a new and significant way. An Enemy of the People will open September 19th and continue through October 21st at Centerstage in Baltimore. For more information visit Centerstage.org.