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Illinois State presents new immersive adaptation of Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People

Image from the production poster, four images in squares on a red background. Top left image is of multiple eyes; top right image appears to be a crack in a wall or ground; bottom left appears to be a person drowning; bottom right is the word

Enemy of the People runs November 9, 10, 13-17 at 7:30 p.m. and November 11 at 2 p.m. in Westhoff Theatre

The Illinois State University School of Theatre and Dance presents An Enemy of the People by Henrik Ibsen, adapted and directed by Myeongsik Jason Jang. The show runs November 9, 10, and 13–17 at 7:30 p.m. and November 11 at 2 p.m. in Westhoff Theatre on the Illinois State University campus.

This political drama play features whistle-blower protagonist, scientist Dr. Thomas Stockmann, who has discovered that the town baths—which keep the town economically afloat—are polluted. Conflict arises when the town mayor, Stockmann’s brother, wants to suppress Thomas’ discovery from the public. How do you decide what is best for your people?

Although An Enemy of the People was penned in 1882, The New York Times recently called it “suddenly as timely as a tweet.” The plot intertwines questions of ethics, political extremism, corruption, and activism in a way still relevant in 2018.

“After reading this play, I had so many questions,” says Director Jang. “Is our society better now than the time Ibsen was alive? Why are we still struggling with all of the same issues that the play presents? Through this production, I want to make time for the audience to reflect on society and think about how we are living.”

This production of An Enemy of the People will combine theater genres to create a unique immersive experience. In this production, audience members will participate as the townspeople who live in Stockmann’s world, including conversing with the actors and moving through the performance space during the show. “You will have your own journey in a new theater world,” Jang tells patrons. “Through their observation and experience during the performance, I hope the audience will feel the viciousness of human nature and find a solution to change our world!”

Despite the serious nature of the production, Jang’s time as director has only been positive. This is the most joyful rehearsal process I have ever had, because the designers, crew, and cast know exactly what message we want to tell the audience and this society! As a director, it is always fun and exciting to put all of my team members’ ideas into the play.”

Tickets are available by calling (309) 438-2535, online at Ticketmaster.com, or by visiting the Box Office, located in the Illinois State University Center for the Performing Arts, Monday–Friday from 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Tickets are only $10 for students and seniors and $12 for adults. Free performance parking is available in the School Street Parking Deck in spots 250 and above, at 400 W. Beaufort St. in Normal.

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