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Shakespeare ’70 tackles ‘desperate drama’ with style

Shakespeare ’70’s rendition of Henrik Ibsen’s “An Enemy of the People,” which played at the Black Box Theater over the past two weeks, was a play that provide its audience with pure enjoyment and astonishment. Shakespeare ’70, which is Mercer County’s only classical theatre company, succeeded in bringing this powerful “classic” to life.

The performance and conviction of the actors conveyed the passion of the play – which seemed to be even more powerful considering the political polarity of the times.

“An Enemy of the People” is by far one of the most well written plays I’ve read; it explores the question of how one can live as a minority within a society that views the majority as being right.

For those who are not familiar with Ibsen, he is by far one of the greatest and most influential playwrights of the 19 century. Many of his plays have been labeled “desperate dramas” because they deal with the people’s need to live differently than they do.

In “An Enemy of the People,” Ibsen deals with how one can live independently with virtue while existing in a world that is filled with poverty, injustice and greed. The play takes a close and uncensored look at the conflict between the minority and the majority.

The play was performed by the Shakespeare ’70 theatrical company, which is “committed to bringing the works of Shakespeare, his contemporaries and the works of other great dramatists to the audiences of the Delaware Valley.” The company consists of dedicated and skilled actors who take pride in providing top rate performances to the entire community. They were truly professional in all aspects of the performance.

I saw the play on Sept. 30, the night of the political debates. I already knew my political stance and realized that this play spoke more about politics than the two candidates who have been “instructed” on what to say to the American people. I placed my expectations extremely high because Shakespeare ’70’s production of William Congreve’s “The Way of the World” last year was amazing. The performances this year were impeccable, as the actors played each scene with conviction and style. It is hard to pick out the best performance because each actor performed his role with great integrity and professionalism. With that being said, Charles Leeder, as protagonist Dr. Stockman, played his part with passion and ingeniuity. His delivery brought conviction to many of the most memorable moments within the play. Mark Boswell, a student at the College student, was engaging as Captain Horster and showed he had the talent to hold his own against his fellow actors.

Overall, Shakespeare ’70’s successful production of “The Enemy of the People” attests to all of the hard work and dedication of director Dale Simons, the actors and the behind-the-scenes crew. I would definitely recommend attending their next play, “Hay Fever,” by Noel Coward, which will be performed Feb. 10-12 and 17-20 at the Black Box Theater.

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