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About

Katherine Stockman lives in a tight-knit community – she’s woven into the fabric. One day she makes a disturbing discovery: the spa water for which the town is famed is toxic. The community has been built on poison, and the truth must be told. But to her horror, people refuse to believe there’s a problem. What does she do? Does she fight for the truth if it means the loss of income, family, community, identity?

Ibsen’s 1882 masterpiece in a timely new version by Melissa Reeves, with the superb Kate Mulvany as the insider who finds herself out in the cold.

Supported by the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund and Creative Development Fund

Warning: cigarettes are used in this production.

Cast

Peter Carroll
Catherine Davies
Leon Ford
Steve Le Marquand
Kenneth Moraleda
Kate Mulvany
Nikita Waldron
Charles Wu

Team

By Melissa Reeves after Henrik Ibsen
Director Anne-Louise Sarks
Set & Costume Designer Mel Page
Lighting Designer Verity Hampson
Composer & Sound Designer Stefan Gregory
Stage Manager Isabella Kerdijk
Assistant Stage Manager Julia Orlando

Performance Times

Tuesday & Wednesday 6.30pm
Thursday & Friday 8pm
Saturday 2pm & 8pm
Sunday 5pm

Previews (bookable)
6.30pm, 7 October
8pm, 9 October
8pm, 10 October

Opening Night (invitation only)
8pm, 11 October

Post-show Q&A
16 October, directly following the performance

Thursday Matinee
1pm, 18 October

Unwaged Performance
2pm, 1 November

Audio-described Performance
2pm, 3 November

Belvoir Briefing
6.30pm, 27 September

Running Time
Approx. 2 hours & 10 mins inc. interval *

Prices

Book a subscription to secure tickets to An Enemy of the People and save up to 31% on the single ticket prices below.

Single tickets will go on sale to the general public on 9 April 2018.

Full Price^ $72 – $77
Subscriber Discount Rate $67
Seniors*/Groups (10 or more) $62 – $67
Concession† $49 – $54
30-Down# $47
Previews $40
Student Saver# $37

* Seniors prices are available with an eligible Australian Government-issued Seniors Card.
† Concession prices are available with a full-time Australian student card, all Centrelink Pensioner concession cards and Veteran Affairs’ cards. For 2018 productions, these prices can also be accessed by Industry members of Actors Equity (MEAA), AACTA, ASMA, ASDA, ARDA, AFTT, Australian Academy of Dramatic Arts, Actors Centre, Performance Space, Australian Writers’ Guild, Artshub and Writing NSW.
# 30-Down and Student Saver prices are available for Previews, Wednesday evening, Thursday evening, Friday evening, Saturday matinee, Saturday evening.
^ Tickets to Sunday performances have an added $5 surcharge.

Full ticket terms and conditions can be found on the Ticket Prices page.

Reviews

Anchored by Kate Mulvany’s terrific performance, this is a show that speaks directly to our troubled, complex times.

Limelight

a tour de force of performance and direction

Stage Noise

An Enemy of the People has standalone excellence as a new work

ArtsHub

Podcast

Director Anne-Louise Sarks, actors Kate Mulvany, Leon Ford, Steve Le Marquand, and set and costume designer Mel Page talk about bringing this contemporary Ibsen adaptation to life.

Director's Note: Anne-Louise Sarks

This brand-new version of Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People by Melissa Reeves is a comedy with a fierce political heart.

Ibsen wrote Enemy in response to the critical backlash he received for his play Ghosts. His script bristles with his personal outrage. An Enemy of the People is a parable – an allegorical story about truth and power and self-interest.

Our world has changed immeasurably – and in ways particularly relevant to this play – since Ibsen first penned it in 1882 and, for that reason, we’ve brought this adaptation right into the contemporary moment. In 2018, we are more informed as a society than we have ever been. In fact we are practically paralysed with information. Our media cycles are rapid and relentless. The question is not so much will the truth come out – as what will we do about the truth that is already out in the open and known? What will it take to get people to care? And if you do care, then what on earth can you do?

We are supposedly more connected than ever before, we have – in our pockets – the means to communicate with a global audience and yet it seems there is a pervading sense of helplessness.

These are perplexing political times. Self-interest governs the world. Assumptions about moral progress have turned out to be exactly that. We no longer burn witches and our societies are not openly segregated, but conservative forces are finding new ways to cement misogyny and racism under the guise of protecting freedom. The dark and determined impulses we thought we had left behind in the 20th century are still alive and furiously kicking, and the cost of speaking out against them is enormous.

The crisis at the centre of Ibsen’s play – the contaminated water at the local spa resort – could be an allegory for any one of our current human crises: the refugees permanently detained on Nauru, Indigenous deaths in custody, climate change. We all know about all of these things. We’ve seen images, heard the stories, followed the human consequences. Our leaders do nothing but appeal to our most basic selfish instincts. And so we do nothing.

Dr Stockman does something bold. She is naïve perhaps, and vain, but fundamentally she believes in the good of people, in the power of the truth, and she has faith in her society.

Speaking out as she does is daring, at any time – but as a woman, in 2018, speaking out is a dangerous act. When the ‘enemy’ is a woman, the professional response is different, the media’s response is different, the community’s response is different. And the personal costs are different.

Dr Stockman finds herself questioning everything: the society, her family and herself.

In the end Ibsen’s male Dr Stockman finds strength in his isolation, declaring: ‘You see, the point is that the strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone.’ 

By rewriting Dr Stockman as a woman, Melissa Reeves has added yet another layer to an already deliciously complex narrative of truth-telling. But Reeves has not just re-centred the adaptation around a woman, she’s refocused it around three very specific women from different decades and experiences and classes.

Our Dr Stockman ultimately finds strength in the women around her – in the gathering together and the sharing and the listening.

I believe there is hope in the coming together. There are no simple answers. But there is one thing I am certain about. We need each other. We need to challenge each other and to listen to each other, and to share our stories.

Thank you for being here.