An Enemy of the Peop-...zzzzzzzzzz

The problem with a production rooted in subtlety is that there is a hair's breadth difference between understated and "boring." And as a 23-year-old blogger striving for intellectual stimulation, I hate using the boring label to write-off any show that could have gone over my head...after all, I may not have gotten it and I certainly could be the outlier.

So, how am I supposed to write about An Enemy of the People, which opened earlier at the Samuel J. Friedman Theater, when the only thought I can muster up is  'boring'?

Yes, do stop...you suck.
No, really...what am I supposed to say? Because this Henry Ibsen piece written in the 1880's seems like it would hold up well over time. The central conflict is in regards to a scientist discovering the town's water - and basically, the biggest element to their cash flow - is tainted. Moral code to make awareness of this unfortunate finding, or keep you mouth shut just so you and your family can afford a living and not be faced with animosity? In terms of "man and his town" dramas, it's a very classic period piece that I am sure was riveting material at some point in the last 100 or so years.

But this current production? Not so much. It's a constant struggle to resist catching some shut eye as most of the dialogue and exchanges is uttered in such a one-note, monotonous level. And then the weirdest part is, during the last 20-25 minutes, a whole bunch of yelling and screaming and commotion happens. And guess what? Still bored. I have never seen such a loud and explosive scene feel so out of place and look like a last ditch effort to amp up the drama.


I'm sorry, I've got nothing. It's really not worth going on and nitpicking every aspect, especially because they ranged, from my perspective, from bland to worse.

It didn't have to be that way and you would think a show with the likes of Boyd Gaines and Richard Thomas would have something appealing. But during one of Gaines' "dramatic" monologues (using that phrase as loosely as possible), I was plotting my escape out of the theater. I chose to slip out limbo-style underneath the guardrail to the mezzanine.

That was the most exciting moment of the evening. So it goes...

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

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