This autumn an evocative and timely new adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s classic An Enemy of the People tackles fake news, the vulnerability of whistle-blowers and the corruption of power in a Nottingham Playhouse production.
When Dr Stockmann discovers the town’s famous spa waters are poisoned, she presumes she’ll be treated as a hero for saving the community from disaster. Instead she’s accused by the mayor of threatening the town’s livelihood. Public and media opinion is soon swayed and the community becomes split into factions.
Directed by Adam Penford (The Madness of George III, Wonderland), this slick, contemporary adaptation is by acclaimed stage and screenwriter Rebecca Lenkiewicz (The Invisible, Colette and the Oscar-winning Ida).
Adam Penford, artistic director at Nottingham Playhouse, said: “This is one of the greatest plays ever written and Rebecca’s new adaptation is fresh and brutal. It tackles the great issues of today including politics, the media, the environment and a divided society. I’m delighted with the talented, high calibre cast and creative team we’ve assembled.”
Alex Kingston (ER, Doctor Who and Macbeth opposite Sir Kenneth Branagh, Manchester International Festival) stars as Dr Stockmann, and Deka Walmsley (Wonderland, Nottingham Playhouse and Macbeth, National Theatre UK Tour) will be playing her husband Christopher Stockmann.
Speaking about her role in An Enemy of the People, Alex Kingston said: “The piece is really timely – there are a lot of shadows within the play that echo what we are going through right now – the Flint water scandal in Michigan, the vilification of Hillary Clinton, the general state of democracy and post Brexit Britain – there are a lot of themes that will resonate for the audience in this play.”
Olivier Award-nominee Malcolm Sinclair (Pressure, the Ambassador’s Theatre and The Light in the Piazza, Royal Festival Hall) has also been cast as Peter Mattsson, the mayor and Dr Stockmann’s brother. Donna Banya (Romeo & Juliet and Macbeth – both RSC) has been confirmed to play Petra, Dr Stockmann’s daughter.
Other actors joining the cast as members of the town’s community include Richard Evans (The Burial at Thebes, Nottingham Playhouse and Jerusalem, The Watermill), who will take the role of Morten Kiil. Emma Pallant (Responsible Child, BBC 2 and Lava, Nottingham Playhouse) is to play Ulrika Hovstad, editor of the town’s local paper. Karl Haynes (Wonderland, Nottingham Playhouse), will be joining them as Captain Horster, Dr Stockmann’s friend and ally. Tim Samuels (Coram Boy at Nottingham Playhouse, and recently appearing in The Merry Wives of Windsor, RSC) has been cast as Aslaksen. Jordan Peters (Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre) will play Billing. Nottinghamshire actor Daniel Fitzpatrick will take the part of the drunk (Coram Boy, Nottingham Playhouse) .
Aesthetically the production draws upon Nordic Noir and Scandi-dramas. Nottingham Playhouse has announced that acclaimed Danish composer Frans Bak – who is known for writing the score for The Killing and the BBC’s Doctor Foster – will be composing the music for An Enemy of the People in his first UK theatre score.
Designer Morgan Large also returns to the Playhouse following his success last year with Wonderland, which won Best Design at the UK Theatre Awards.