Explosive Drama ‘An Enemy Of The People’ Resonates With Timely Relevance At Culver City Public Theatre
By Ken Kamlet
from Culver City,CA
Culver City, California-- A small town has just begun to win fame and wealth through its medicinal spring waters, but the resident physician discovers a life-threatening secret. In Henrik Ibsen's explosive drama ‘An Enemy Of The People’, adapted by American theatrical icon Arthur Miller, audiences will experience an unforgettable tale of betrayal, greed, corruption and the courageous fight for truth. Performances are scheduled for weekend afternoons at 2pm from July 31-August 8th in lovely Dr. Paul Carlson Memorial Park.
Now in its 6th season of bringing free, professional, classical summer theatre to Los Angeles-area audiences, Culver City Public Theatre (“The Public”) is currently enjoying the success of a well-received, audience-pleasing run of Noël Coward’s hilarious family comedy ‘Hay Fever’, but will take a decidedly darker turn by presenting Ibsen’s timely drama, ‘An Enemy Of The People’, which reminds us that integrity and freedom of speech remain essential.
Co-Executive Producer Ken Kamlet expressed enthusiasm for the selection of ‘An Enemy Of The People’ for this season. "This production is particularly timely. Right now the ethics and moral values of both our political and business leaders are being examined and highly scrutinized by media and American citizens alike," he explained, "and ‘Enemy’ is a very powerful, exciting look at how these important principles have historically challenged society's very core."
Director Alexa Hunter concurs, “This is a 19th century whistleblower story. The doctor must make life-altering choices as he balances his obligations to his family and their security while trying to stand strong in a face-off with the majority. This play resonates with contemporary audiences. It is still easy to see how our most progressive ideas get watered down by the so-called liberal press or diluted by political parties intent on winning, often at the cost of the whole truth.”
Ms. Hunter joins The Public as a distinguished Guest Artist having spent many years working as a director and actress in venues from New York City to Los Angeles. She has worked in productions for such notable organizations as Theatre For A New City, Loretta Theater Workshop, Grace Players, Australian Company Nightshift and LaMama ETC including the Obie Award winning ‘A Matter of Life And Death’ and premieres of plays by Joyce Carol Oates and Rosalyn Drexler. In L.A., Alexa Hunter has helmed the critically acclaimed ‘Ventriloquist Sex’ (Edgefest), ‘Neon Tetra’ (Company of Angels), and ‘The Whorl’ for Long Beach Women’s Festival. She will stage the premiere of John Cantwell’s ‘Saltine Crackers’ this September at Highways in Santa Monica co-starring Park Overall (‘Mississippi Burning’, “Empty Nest”, “Reba”, original Broadway cast ‘Biloxi Blues’, etc.)
Henrik Ibsen, Norway’s most recognized playwright, had a life-long disillusionment with his homeland and middle class life. He focused on psychological portraits of individuals caught in the conflux of social conventions including civil rights, religion and politics. His well known plays include ‘A Doll's House’ and ‘Hedda Gabler’. When Ibsen wrote ‘Enemy’ in1882, he had just suffered a public skewering from ‘Ghosts’ (the critics said “the only real criticism would be silence”). In ‘Enemy’ he retaliates with a satirically nasty treatment of the press and the hypocrisy of small town politicians.
“We selected Arthur Miller’s adaptation because the language and structure is very accessible and direct as Miller successfully maintains Ibsen’s challenges to the audience and dramatic plot elements,” explains The Public’s Board President, Laura Neufeld.
Arthur Miller’s themes often concern the plight of the individual persecuted for their different beliefs such as his stunning indictment of McCarthyism in ‘The Crucible’. Other important works by Miller include ‘After The Fall’, ‘All My Sons’, ‘Death Of A Salesman’, ‘The Price’ and ‘A View From The Bridge’.
Heading the large cast is Scott Berg as the principled, determined Dr. Thomas Stockmann and Ken MacFarlane as his brother and fiercest critic Mayor Peter Stockmann. Berg is a recent L.A. transplant who’s credits include stage productions of ‘Rosencrants and Guildenstern Are Dead’, ‘Marat/Sade’, ‘Baby With The Bathwater’ and ‘Burn This’. MacFarlane returns to Carlson Park having previously directed a notable production of ‘Medea’ for The Public and more recently he directed and designed a critically acclaimed staging of ‘Tartuffe’ for PV Players. Acting credits include L.A.-area productions of ‘JB’ and ‘Hamlet’ as well as the films “IM: Insomnia Manica” and “Caesar and Otto”.
Other cast members include Bruna Raynaud and Gina E. Pooley as Dr. Stockman’s long-suffering wife Catherine and spirited daughter Petra respectively, Company Members Greg Ellery and Janet Osborne (and her son Max Osborne) as well as Jimmy Bangley, Davis Campbell, Leon Cohen, Michael Godinez, Tyler Hammock, Carl Kocis, Paul Ramirez and Martin Terrones.
An imaginative outdoor stage setting will be designed by Kenny Klimak and costumes are by Anne Marie Allen.
The Public will round out its mainstage season with Anton Chekhov's timeless, wistful classic ‘The Cherry Orchard’. With a humorous, passionate portrait of a disappearing way of life, re-discover the grace and humor of this masterpiece of the modern theatre. Performances are scheduled for weekend afternoons at 2pm from August 14-29.
The debut of the newly developed “Children’s Popcorn Theatre” performs in tandem with The Public’s mainstage season and admission will be Free for children of all ages. Board Chairman Kyle Nudo directs ‘Rumpelstiltskin’, the classic Grimm’s fairy tale. Performances are scheduled for weekend afternoons at 12:00 Noon from July 24th-August 15th.
Culver City Public Theatre, which operates under a Letter of Agreement with Actors’ Equity Association (the union of American theatrical actors and stage managers), continues an 18-year tradition of presenting an annual summer season of free, outdoor, classical theatre in beautiful Dr. Paul Carlson Memorial Park, located at the corner of Motor Avenue and Braddock Drive (near the 405 and 10 Freeways) in historic Culver City, CA. The public is invited to bring their lawn chairs and blankets to attend the productions that are intended for young and adult audiences alike.
The Public has experienced enormous artistic and financial growth during each year of operation. Its productions are attended by approximately 2,000 patrons each season.
Culver City Public Theatre is an incorporated, not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization that is sponsored by the Culver City Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Services and by the generous contributions and grants from the City of Culver City, The Cultural Affairs Commission and The Culver City Parks and Services Foundation. Additional funding comes from donations from local businesses and patrons.
For general information call (310) 712-5482 or visit the official website at http://www.ccpt.org/