By Jacob Mann
WASILLA — The Valley Performing Arts Center is performing ‘An Enemy of the Public’, the iconic American playwright Arthur Miller’s adaption of Norwegian dramatist Henrik Ibsen’s timeless play about a reluctant whistleblower whose actions to warm his fellow citizens about an important health risk that ultimately leaves him a social outcast in his own community. The story follows a small Norwegian town that recently won their claim to fame with a local and tourist economic boost through a new health spa that utilizes medical spring waters. Dr. Stockmann, the head physician discovers that visitors leave the spa sicker than they entered because the waters are poisoned.
Stockmann immediately reports his discovery to his associates and his brother, the town mayor conspires with local politicians and the local newspaper to cover up the story to keep the spa going. Stockman is eventually deemed an ‘enemy of the people’ and is left with just a few close family members on his side.
VPA representatives like executive director Garry Forrester described this play as a “surprisingly timely” story that captures realistic humanity and provokes thought to audiences.
The show’s thought-provoking prowess and legendary status helped bring a slew of VPA veterans to act alongside a handful of newcomers. The show acts almost like a longtime VPA family reunion with known names and seasoned regulars like Grant Olson throwing their hat in the ring.
“It’s been a neat play tp put together,” director Karl Kopperud said.
Kopperud is directing the play as a part of his five-year return to VPA. He said that he first became involved in 1977 and started getting back in the saddles just five years ago. He appeared visibly happy o reunite with familiar faces, especially so many past retirement.
“This is a wonderful way to spend retirement,” Kopperud said.
Olson is a longtime VPA director but he hasn’t been on the stage as an actor in over 13 years. He said he “couldn’t resist” and dusted off his acting cap.
“It’s different than directing. That’s for sure,” Olson said.
“The director, Karl Kopperud, directed The Tin Woman, a couple of seasons ago and has a real heart for thought-provoking shows. This production has a good mix of veterans and new folks, even a former Mat-Su Borough representative,” Forrester said.
The show runs from January 10-26. Showtimes are Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 7 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m.
“It would be a great evening for most people I think,” Kopperud said.
For more information or to purchase tickets, call 907-373-0195 or visit valleyperformingarts.org.