The Tarragon Theatre has secured rights to an English-language world premiere of a critically lauded and explosive German production of Henrik Ibsen’s political drama, An Enemy of the People.
The Toronto company announced Wednesday that it will kick off its 2014-2015 season with an English-language remount of Thomas Ostermeier’s production of An Enemy of the People, a 19th-century drama about a crusading doctor who protests the industrial pollution of the waters in a spa town.
The production, from Berlin’s famed Schaubühne theatre, sets the action in the present and has been described as “Ibsen for the [Edward] Snowden age,” in reference to the American whistleblower who leaked government security documents. It has been previously seen in Canada in German with surtitles at Montreal’s Festival TransAmériques but this will be its first-ever local rendition, staged by Tarragon artistic director Richard Rose after Ostermeier’s production. The play will be translated by Tarragon’s first international playwright-in-residence Maria Milisavljevic, who will also be offering a translation of her own German-language play Abyss, a thriller about the hunt for a missing woman, later in the season.
Aside from the Germans, the Tarragon season is offering several new Canadian plays written by long-time audience favourites. Sextet is a comedy about six philandering musicians stranded in a hotel room written and directed by Morris Panych; Cake & Dirt is a psychological drama set in contemporary Toronto written by Daniel MacIvor. Writer Diane Flacks and director Richard Greenblatt (Sibs, Care and By A Thread) team up again for Waiting Room, a drama set in a hospital. Playwright Hannah Moscovitch (East of Berlin, Little One, This is War) returns with Infinity, a love story about a young mathematician.
The Canadian component of the season begins with The Bakelite Masterpiece, a play based on a Second World War story about a Dutch art forgery, by playwright-in-residence Kate Cayley, and ends with a Bollywood-inspired adaptation of Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing set in Brampton.
In a bid to make the theatre more accessible, the Tarragon is also introducing assisted listening devices and reserving 10 per cent of each house for $15 tickets available on the day of the performance.