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  An Enemy Of The People at Goodman Theatre

An Enemy Of The People

Goodman Theatre
170 N. Dearborn Street Chicago

When a water contamination crisis puts their community in peril, two brothers face off in a battle of political ambitions and moral integrity. Nearly 150 years after Ibsen's masterpiece first thrilled audiences, it "is startling how current the play's ideas feel" (The New York Times) and remains "a play so necessary, exhilarating to experience." (The Village Voice).

Thru - Apr 15, 2018

Price: $25-$85

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 312-443-3800

Running Time: 2hrs, 20mins; one intermission

Goodman Theatre Seating Charts

Suggested Nearby Restaurant

  An Enemy Of The People Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Highly Recommended

"...But Ibsen was never fearful: "An Enemy of the People" is really all about life's great banquet of self-interest and our inability to extricate ourselves lest, as in the nightmare of Auntie Mame, we find ourselves starving to death. Everyone in this world will conceal the truth for a price - a job, a personal relationship, past bitterness, past favors done, a present consulting contract, a gig. And Facebook, where unity has been so systematically shattered, does not require anyone to reveal their conflicts of interest."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Highly Recommended

"...Directed and adapted by Robert Falls (from a translation by Eleanor Marx-Aveling), the production is punctuated by impossible-to-miss topical references – fake facts, deplorables and science-deniers among them. They’re on the nose, but they’re ruthless in their relevance. Hitting with equal ferocity: The play’s refusal to let the audience off the hook. Every time you’re certain you’re cheering for the side of justice, truth and righteousness, Ibsen (ably assisted by Falls), adds on another layer of ambiguity."
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Catey Sullivan

Daily Herald - Highly Recommended

"...If you leave Goodman Theatre's superb revival of "An Enemy of the People" with your mind whirling from its provocative ideas, credit master dramatist Henrik Ibsen."
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Barbara Vitello

Time Out Chicago - Recommended

"...An Enemy of the People succeeds, though, because Ibsen is a master of themes that aren't just articulated but complicated. It's a play that traffics in ironies. The baths are meant to heal the sick, and yet they're poison. Thomas is right in his beliefs but completely unprepared for the battle they unleash. Peter is both mayor of the town and chairman of the corporation that owns the baths. He comes close to pure evil, but his positions are entirely comprehensible."
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Alex Huntsberger

Chicago On the Aisle - Highly Recommended

"...When Henrik Ibsen completed his play “An Enemy of the People” in 1882, he couldn’t decide whether to declare his moralizing screed a drama or a comedy. Indeed, in the mirror it holds up to human self-interest and moral hypocrisy, “An Enemy of the People” displays a deep strain of dark absurdist comedy. That is pointedly the case in a new adaptation by Robert Falls for Goodman Theatre that hews close to Ibsen’s pervasively cynical work."
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Lawrence B. Johnson

Stage and Cinema - Highly Recommended

"...Goodman's Ibsen is strong and unsubtle stuff, powered by kinetic performances from the principals and a cinematic ensemble as the spineless citizens. Thomas's "resistance" can't help but feel like now. Like Miller's reluctantly brave Thomas Proctor, this Thomas has only his name and integrity to prize and protect, just as much as the water supply. No, he can't make this town great again but he can speak truth to power. 136 years later, kudos to Ibsen for continuing to fight our battles."
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Lawrence Bommer

Let's Play at ChicagoNow - Highly Recommended

"...Falls does a great job by testing the waters on how people react to the safety of others when it comes to their financial loss. He also masterfully educated the audience about how we are not free when it comes to how much the political machine the politicians controls when it comes to the very essence of our freedom."
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Rick and Brenda McCain

Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...David Darlow is stunning as Morton Kiil, Katherine's father, who as it turns out may be responsible for the water situation in the first place. There are some wonderful developments that I will not divulge , as I do not want to give anything away. The townspeople in the one major scene fill the stage, but the ones who speak are:Carley Cornelius, Arya Daire, Guy Massey, Roderick Peeples and Dustin Whitehead. The set ( (Todd Rosenthal) is powerful and when you see the final scene, remarkable. Ana Kuzmanic's costumes are intriguing and very 1800's looking. Robert Wierzel ( lights) and Richard Woodbury (music and sound) complete the technical parts of the production and it should be noted that the translation by Eleanor Marx-Aveling makes the story-line easy to follow. Chuck Coyl handled the fight choreography ( very realistic). This is a production that is worth seeing. If you saw the Red Orchid show, you might want to see this just to see the original!"
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Alan Bresloff

NewCity Chicago - Somewhat Recommended

"...There are moments of real power in this production, particularly during the climactic confrontation between Dr. Stockmann and his fellow citizens. But the ambivalence of the main character-the angry outsider who accomplishes nothing while declaring in Nietzschean fashion that "the strongest man is he who stands most alone"-is pretty much lost here. The deeper lesson in Dr. Stockmann's tale is that intelligence minus sympathy and compassion equals arrogance, which turns out to be as ruinous as the pettiness, greed and herd mentality that the good doctor so passionately rails against."
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Hugh Iglarsh

WTTW - Highly Recommended

"...Falls’ impressive achievement here is the way he shifts away from Ibsen’s more antiseptic realism to dance on the edge of tragic, comical political farce. At the same time he never loses hold of the play’s crucial arguments, including the question of whether there can ever be a moral form of capitalism, or any other political system, and whether self-interest almost invariably trumps the ethical choice. After all, it is the rare person - one willing to stand alone and be branded as “an enemy of the people” - who is willing to make the necessary sacrifices for that."
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Hedy Weiss

Chicago Theatre Review - Highly Recommended

"...Chicago theatre is well-known for its unflinching grittiness and a refusal to turn away from the truth. This production’s focus on a government that puts its own financial gain over the health, welfare and safety of its constituents is brave. It’s an exquisite production that’ll be remembered for bringing Ibsen’s renowned classic, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century."
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Colin Douglas

Chicagoland Theater Reviews - Highly Recommended

"...“An Enemy of the People” is Ibsen’s cynical response to the complacency and self-interest he believed was suffocating society. Audiences today will doubtless nod in agreement at much that Ibsen targeted in the 1880’s which still afflicts us today. And in the presence of so much good acting and stirring writing the viewer is entitled to tolerate narrative lapses, at least while the verbal sparks are flying in the theater."
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Dan Zeff

Third Coast Review - Recommended

"...If you're looking for a thoughtful meditation on partisanship and identity politics, this production may be for you. If you're simply in the mood to see some killer shoes and matching hats, you should definitely see this show. "
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Emma Terhaar

Chicago Theater and Arts - Highly Recommended

"...Well cast, Philip Earl Johnson brilliantly portrays Thomas Stockmann as a doctor worried about the illnesses he has seen as medical officer of the new Municipal Baths and as an idealist willing to take on townspeople and officials including his elder brother, Peter Stockmann. Peter, the town’s mayor and Thomas’ Baths boss, is depicted perfectly by Scott Jaeck"
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Jodie Jacobs

Chicago On Stage - Highly Recommended

"...Henrik Ibsen wrote his 1882 play An Enemy of the People as a response to the outrage that had greeted his previous play, Ghosts, which took a long look at the morality of the Victorian era and found it to be utterly hypocritical (which in fact it was). His determination, then, was to write a play about a society that stones the messenger when it ought to be paying attention to the warnings. His new play was about a doctor who discovers dangerous contaminants in the waters of the town baths-a tourist attraction that put the town on the map. At first hailed as heroic, the doctor quickly finds himself the subject of the town's scorn when its mayor (the doctor's brother) puts out a determination that the fix for the problem might bankrupt them. In Robert Falls' excellent and exciting adaptation of the play now at the Goodman Theatre, it's amazing to see how easily this 136-year-old play fits into our current political era."
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Karen Topham

Picture This Post - Highly Recommended

"...This Henrik Ibsen play was written 150 years ago, but from Robert Fall's adaptation (not to mention artful direction), you would think it was written specifically about today's political climate. The characters struggle with misplaced radicalism, draining the swamp, deplorables, and outrage for the people in power, or even outrage manifested through manipulation by the people in power themselves. For those looking for a play about standing up for what you believe in, or about current events, this is a must-see."
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Nate Hall

  An Enemy Of The People Photo Gallery

   This show has been Jeff Recommended*

*The designation of "Jeff Recommended" is given to a production when at least ONE ELEMENT of the show was deemed outstanding by the Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee.

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