'Enemy of the People' coming to area
HACKETTSTOWN — Randall Duk Kim and Anne Occhiogrosso headline Centenary Stage Company’s production of Henrik Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People, Feb. 15 through March 3 in the Sitnik Theatre of the Lackland Performing Arts Center, Hackettstown, New Jersey. Adapted by John Alan Wyatt and directed by Anne Occhiogrosso, the production will feature Randall Duk Kim as Doctor Thomas Stockmann supported by an acting company of professional and local talent from the tri-state area and Centenary University. The full-scale production marks the culmination of the 2018 Gates Ferry Lecture Series: “What is Truth?” To purchase tickets, call the Centenary Stage Company box office at (908) 979 0900 or visit centenarystageco.org.
With ripped-from-the-headlines relevance, this high intensity drama is a powerful investigation of ambition, integrity and the price we pay for truth. Originally published in 1882, An Enemy of the People concerns the actions of Doctor Thomas Stockmann, a medical officer charged with inspecting the public baths on which the prosperity of his native town depends. He finds the water to be contaminated. When he refuses to be silenced, he is declared an enemy of the people. Stockmann served as a spokesman for Ibsen, who felt that his plays gave a true, if not always palatable, picture of life and that truth was more important than critical approbation.
Occhiogrosso notes: “I first directed Enemy 30 years ago and Randall played Dr. Stockmann. Simply put I love the challenge of bringing Ibsen to life on the stage again and Randall is ecstatic to be able to invite the unpredictable and lively Dr. Stockmann into his imagination once more. Ibsen’s voice is so needed today as we struggle with environmental crisis, women’s rights, economic inequality, political division and our very ideas of truth and justice.”
Henrik Johan Ibsen (1828 –1906) was a Norwegian playwright, theatre director and poet. As one of the founders of Modernism in theatre, Ibsen is often referred to as "the father of realism” and one of the most influential playwrights of his time. His major works include Brand, Peer Gynt, An Enemy of The People, Ghosts, Hedda Gabler, A Doll’s House, The Wild Duck, When We Dead Awaken, The Lady from The Sea, Rosmersholm, The Master Builder and John Garbriel Borkman.
Ibsen is the most frequently performed dramatist in the world after Shakespeare. Several of his later dramas were considered scandalous to many of his era, when European theatre was expected to model strict morals of family life and propriety. Ibsen's later work examined the realities that lay behind the façades, revealing much that was disquieting to a number of his contemporaries. He had a critical eye and conducted a free inquiry into the conditions of life and issues of morality.
As the culmination of the 2018 Gate Ferry Lecture Series, “What is Truth? And Does It Matter?”, Kim and Occhiogrosso originally proposed the idea with the goal to encourage public dialogue surrounding this most serious of contemporary issues. Occhiogrosso states, “In this time of ‘Fake News,’ and ‘Alternative Truths’ and convenient omission of the facts, one is forced to ask ‘What is Truth? And Does It Really Matter?’ Kim adds, "Both these questions have served as the core inquiry of the world’s greatest and most popular playwrights over the past two thousand years. The theatre allows us to see man’s encounter with this mightiest and perplexing concept. We can see how they encounter it, try to escape it, hide from it, expose it and deny it, and how it affects their lives and the consequences endured through its encounter.”
For over 40 years, Randall Duk Kim and Anne Occhiogrosso have devoted their lives to the classical theatre through acting, directing, teaching, commissioning new translations of classical works and developing a singular approach to classical text interpretation which combines, research, training and production. This life-long dedication to classical theatre led to their founding, in 1979, along with founding partner Charles J. Bright, now deceased, of American Players Theatre, Spring Green, WI, at that time, the only professional, outdoor classical rotating repertory theatre company in America. Under their combined leadership, American Players Theatre received a Tony Award nomination in 1985 for “Outstanding Regional Theatre in America.”
Winner of the OBIE Award for Sustained Excellence, Kim began his early career with the legendary Joe Papp and the New York Public Theatre’s Shakespeare Festival and performed leading classical roles at some of America’s finest regional theatres including Hamlet, Shylock, King Lear, Falstaff and Oedipus Rex, among many others. He has been seen on Broadway in Flower Drum Song, Golden Child and The King and I but perhaps is most universally recognized as “The Keymaker” in the film Matrix Reloaded and the voice of “Oogway” in the DreamWorks’ animated film Kung Fu Panda. Mr. Kim’s TV and film work includes the BBC Special Prisoner in Time, Anna and the King, Memoirs of a Geisha, Dragonball Ninja Assassin, Elementary and John Wick. Most recently, Kim starred in Centenary Stage Company’s production of “Art,” directed by Anne Occhiogrosso.
In 2016, Kim and Occhiogrosso returned to Wisconsin for “The Pleasure of His Company: Our 40 Year love Affair with William Shakespeare” for one SRO performance at the Wisconsin Union Theatre at UW Wisconsin / Madison. Earlier, Kim and Occhiogrosso headlined the two-hander “Then Came Each Actor,” a celebration of the lives and work of some of the theatre’s most legendary actors, at CSC in 2015.
As creators of the Centenary Stage Company series “Great Authors Out Loud,” Kim and Occhiogrosso have offered readings from authors Edgar Alan Poe, Mark Twain, Dorothy Parker and James Thurber and classical theatre playwrights William Shakespeare, Sophocles, Moliere, Chekhov and Ibsen which has drawn a loyal and enthusiastic following since 2012. In addition to the readings, they have taught a Shakespeare Intensive Course at Centenary University where students study one play over a thirteen-week period. The last three semesters focused on Hamlet, The Merchant of Venice and King Lear.
Director Anne Occhiogrosso received national attention for her body of work at American Players Theatre where she was co-artistic director. An acclaimed director, dramaturg, acting coach and actress, her focus has always been classical theatre with a special emphasis on the works of William Shakespeare. At the American Players Theatre, she directed 16 Shakespearean plays along with works of by Moliere, Ibsen, Plautus, and Chekhov. She also performed the roles of The Nurse in Romeo and Juliet, Gertrude in Hamlet, Natalya in The Proposal, Madame Arkadina in The Seagull, Jocasta in Oedipus Rex and Anna Petrovna in Ivanov, a production which was co-directed by Morris Carnovsky and Phoebe Brand who have served as career mentors to both Kim and Occhiogrosso. She has also taught at the Stella Adler Conservatory of Acting and the New York Shakespeare Festival. Professional partners onstage for over four decades, Occhiogrosso and Kim are married in real life.
An Enemy of the People runs Feb. 15 through March 3 in the Sitnik Theatre of the Lackland Performing Arts Center. Performances are Fridays, Feb. 15, 22 and March 1 at 8 p.m. with a preview performance on Friday, Feb. 15 at 2 p.m.; Saturdays, Feb. 16, 23 and March 2 at 8 p.m.; Sundays, Feb. 17, 24 and March 3 at 2 p.m.; Thursdays, Feb. 21 and 28 at 7:30 p.m. and Wednesdays, Feb. 20 and 27 at 2 p.m.
Tickets are $25.00 for adults for matinee performances, $27.50 for adults on Friday evenings and $29.50 for adults on Saturday evenings. Thursday evening performances are $27.50 for all seats with a buy-one-get-one free rush ticket special. Centenary Stage Company also offers a buffet matinee special for Wednesday matinee performances at $42.50 per patron. Buffet matinees include admission to the performance and private dinning for groups of 25–50. Reservations required. Call the Centenary Stage Company box office directly at (908) 979 – 0900 to reserve.