In his play An Enemy of the People (1882) Ibsen, who very often felt himself to be one due to his subversive dramas, reveals hypocrisy of what we call generally accepted moral values. Doctor Stockmann, medical officer at the Municipal Baths, reveals that the health bath is contaminated and life-threatening, so proposes costly repairs. But as a moral discipline requires certain efforts, cleaning of the water requires sacrifices and investments as well – and the community is not willing to accept that. However, any further isolation of Dr.Stockmann will only make him stronger. Ibsen uncompromisingly leads his hero beyond the order where democracy represents a mere terror over majority fascinated by their own gain.
Meanwhile, clashes between moral or revolutionary individuals against groups numbed by corruption and indifference have been suspended from their heights of drama and tragedy to the level of informative and entertaining soap opera. And in such a world where all faults and weaknesses are not only permissible but also desirable, Ibsen’s eccentricis no longer “an enemy of the people”. It is much more gainful to romanticize him as a new “Hero of Our Time”.
Premiere: January 21, 2017