Ibsen wrote An Enemy of the People in 1882, but the soulless mechanisms the play reveals remain terrifyingly timely in 2015. The small spa town in the south of Norway is, in Klata’s rendition, a place where very special principles reign. As Mayor Peter Stockmann says of the residents: “The people feel best with the good old ideas that they’ve known for ages.” Custom and reluctance toward change come hand-in-hand with a sense of danger that needs to be avoided. The studies of Doctor Tomas Stockmann, revealing the improper placement of a water pipe and the regular poisoning of bathing waters have revolutionary potential, yet they clash with the interests of the city authorities, and the impasse of the situation is aggravated by the fact that the spa doctor and the mayor are close relatives. How will the town’s residents respond? And above all, what tips the scales here? “A powerful moment comes with the monologue of Dr. Stockmann (a brilliant Juliusz Chrząstowski), which imperceptibly shifts into a dialogue with the viewers about Krakow’s smog, refugees, and the Polish brute. The line between stage and audience is destroyed when the latter confront difficult questions and need to find answers,” reports Łukasz Gazur in Dziennik Polski.
It’s all here: the set design, choreography, dramaturgy, and music, courtesy of Justyna Łagowska, Maćko Prusak, Michał Buszewicz, and Robert Piernikowski, all come together. The actors come together as well, creating a strong ensemble. We also have a chance to see a striking debut at the Stary Theater, young Monika Frajczyk, still a student at the PWST Academy of the Dramatic Arts in Krakow. She brings a touch of something unique to the stage with her charisma and fascinating stage presence.
Gabriela Cagiel, Gazeta Wyborcza-Kraków
The text of the improvisation can be found find in the foyer (before the play).