When local theatre meets local politics

Politically-driven drama An Enemy of the People brings some Kamloops politics to the stage

Courtney Dickson, Arts & Entertainment Editor Ω

The next TRU AWT show opens Nov. 21 and finishes Nov. 30. Andrew Cooper/Actors Workshop Theatre

The next TRU AWT show opens Nov. 21 and finishes Nov. 30. Andrew Cooper/Actors Workshop Theatre

TRU’s next theatre production might be of interest for those following the Ajax mine debate. The Actors Workshop Theatre is bringing a Canadian adaptation of the politically-driven drama An Enemy of the People to the stage.

Originally written by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen in 1882, this play is the story of a doctor who discovers that the water being used for the spa in her town is polluted, and the difficulties she encounters when trying to find a solution.

“It’s a story about someone who is undervalued,” said director Wesley Eccleston.

The play been given a Canadian spin, set in B.C.’s interior, so Kamloops will be able to relate.

The audience should expect something a little different as far as the set is concerned. The cast will be performing on a thrust stage, meaning the audience surrounds three sides of the stage and sees actors from a variety of angles.

“Different areas of the audience are going to see a completely different show,” actor Wyatt Purcha said.

“You feel very vulnerable because everyone can see everything you do,” said Maddy Henry, who plays Dr. Elizabeth Stockmann. “You have to be very aware of the choices you make.”

The actors have coined the term “backting,” the ability of an actor to express their actions even when their backs are to the audience.

“I try to pick shows that will serve my students and give them an opportunity to explore good characterization,” Eccleston said.

Students cast in lead roles confirmed that he is all about character development.

It's up to the audience to figure out who the enemy of the people really is, so this show isn't for anyone looking for mindless entertainment. Andrew Cooper/Actors Workshop Theatre

It’s up to the audience to figure out who the enemy of the people really is, so this show isn’t for anyone looking for mindless entertainment. Andrew Cooper/Actors Workshop Theatre

“I love Wesley’s rehearsal process, and it helps so much in developing your character,” Henry said. She’s taken classes with Eccleston and was in his production last year, so she knew what to expect when she was cast in this play.

“If you’re looking for something a little more heavy, as far as our shows this year, this is the one to come see,” Purcha said.

“It’s very fitting, as far as what’s going on in Kamloops politically right now,” Henry added. “It’s interesting to see different demographics come with different points of view.”

Thirteen TRU actors take the stage in An Enemy of the People at the Black Box Theatre Nov. 21 to 23 and Nov. 28 to 30. Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance at kamloopslive.ca.

“We’re not here to say what’s right and wrong,” Henry said. “It’s our job to tell the story and it’s the audience’s decision to decide who’s the true enemy of the people.”