‘An Enemy of the People’ brings truth among fake news

Indiana University Kokomo’s Performing Arts presented Henrik Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People for their fall production this year. The show opened on Nov. 10 and ran until Nov. 12 in Havens Auditorium.

Director Dennis Henry, alongside the fellow cast and crew, have cultivated a performance that was relevant to certain situations we have walked through these pasts few years in the United States of America, particularly in relation to politics.

An Enemy of the People is an extraordinary play that is set in Norway in 1882, that looks at the actions of a medical officer that goes by the name of Doctor Thomas Stockman.

The IU Kokomo Theatre took a different approach to the setting of this play. Their adaptation took place in Indiana in the 1950s, where Dr. Stockman discovers that the town’s hot springs are being polluted by local factories, causing sickness in the tourists using them. Thinking he will become a local hero for uncovering such an issue, Dr. Stockman finds his reputation to be sabotaged by the townspeople, as they actively attempt to destroy his findings. Therefore, gifting Dr. Stockman the reputation as being “the enemy of the people.”

When choosing to create this production, Henry related the plots within the play to the political atmosphere we have experienced within the last few years.

“Not only is it an entertaining play, but one that gives insight into the world we live in today,” said Henry. “[In our politics], there is denial of science for political and economic gain, criticism of journalists, scientists, and teachers who disagree with the government, and politicians who rile the people into political violence.”

With “fake news media” and ethical dilemmas for our climate and health, Henry found this story as an outlet of reassurance for the viewers; to know that times like these have existed before and we have managed to get through them, meaning we can and will power through them again.

An Enemy of the People is a great example of how media can blow matters out of proportion, which can strike fear and violence. The message of the play is just as relevant in today’s world as the world that Ibsen experienced.