When the Enemy is the Good Guy — Henrik Ibsen’s drama (by way of Arthur Miller) ‘An Enemy of the People’ still topical after all these years

Short-term profit or long-term gain? Jobs for now or healthy environments for our children? The topics of Henrik Ibsen’s play, “An Enemy of the People,” could come ripped from today’s headlines, as they say. But the ripping already started some 128 years ago, and those headlines were in Norway. In Carey McKinnon’s Valley Community Theatre production, those issues return once again to resonate in the present. The play opens tonight and features a large cast, drawing from the Valley community.

“Enemy of the People” concerns Dr. Thomas Stockmann (Jim Farnum), who becomes concerned when he learns the healing waters of a popular local spa are polluted by runoff from the tanneries. Speaking out means financial ruin for the town, whose mayor is Stockmann’s older brother (Jeff McKinnon, Carey’s husband). The truth, as we find out, will not set Stockmann free. Instead, it will make him the most hated man around. “Enemy” asks how far we would go, and what we would risk, for the sake of the truth.

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