Bill Murray is doing a free pop-up play in Times Square today

Actors and climate activists unite for a reading of Henrik Ibsen's An Enemy of the People.

Adam Feldman
Written by
Adam Feldman
Theater and Dance Editor, Time Out USA
Bill Murray
Photograph: Courtesy of the artistBill Murray

The hit Broadway revival of An Enemy of the People, Henrik Ibsen's 1882 social drama about politics and pollution, was interrupted in March by protesters from the climate activist group Extinction Rebellion. As we reported at the time, the play's performers—including Jeremy Strong and Michael Imperioli—took the interruption in stride, and some of them even engaged with the protesters. "You should write your own play!" yelled one of the actors.

Extinction Rebellion hasn't written its own play. Instead, it is joining forces with Theater of War Productionsa performance group that specializes in combining classical texts with burning contemporary issues, as in its acclaimed production Antigone in Ferguson—to present its own version of An Enemy of the People in a pop-up theater event today in Times Square today. And Theater of War has recruited some impressive names for this free reading of scenes from Ibsen's drama, led by the widely adored Bill Murray.

Master thespian Jay O. Sanders (Purlie Victorious) will play the central role of Dr. Thomas Stockmann, who discovers dangerous bacteria in his spa town's water. Murray will play his brother, the town's mayor, who tries to silence his findings; Taylor Schilling (Orange Is the New Black) and Kathryn Erbe (Law & Order: Criminal Intent) will play the doctor's daughter and wife, respectively. Veteran stage actors Peter Francis James, Zach Grenier and Enid Graham are also in the company. So is Nate Smith—one of the activists who disrupted the Broadway performance in March—as well as New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and the longtime Washington Post drama critic Peter Marks. (The cast will also include, in a suitably small role, another theater reviewer: me, Time Out's own Adam Feldman.)

Taylor Schilling
Photograph: Courtesy Lev RadinTaylor Schilling
Adapted and directed by Theater of War's Bryan Doerries, this abbreviated version of An Enemy of the People will comprise only two parts of Ibsen's play: the second act, in which Dr. Stockman argues with his brother, the mayor; and the fourth act, in which a mob of citizens turns on Stockman at a public hearing. After the reading, in Theater of War's customary fashion, Doerries will facilitate a public discussion of the play with community panelists and then with volunteers from the audience.  
An Enemy of the People begins at 6pm today on the Red Stairs at Father Duffy Square (Broadway at W 47th St), and is open to the public. Audience members are encouraged to arrive by 5:15pm. To register for this event and reserve seats online, or to register to watch the event on Zoom, visit An Enemy of the People's event page
TKTS Booth in Times Square
Photograph: Courtesy Theater Development Fund

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