By Sue Suchyta
Dearborn Times-Herald – March 20, 2015
When should a person risk his own safety and the well-being of his family to protect the majority, people blinded by ignorance or greed, from their own folly?
In Arthur Miller’s adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s “An Enemy of the People,” Dr. Stockmann faces this dilemma when he discovers the water feeding the town’s health spa, which has dramatically improved the area’s economy, is contaminated with bacteria, causing serious health problems among the guests, including typhus.
Understandably, in an era when most people did not know about bacteria, tiny creatures visible only under a microscope, they do not comprehend the doctor’s concern, but they do realize what would happen to their town if they lost their reputation as a restorative destination.
To complicate matters, the doctor’s brother is the town’s mayor, and his father-in-law’s tannery may be the source of the contamination.
The town claims to embrace democracy, but they do not want to hear the doctor’s warnings, and they do not want him ruining the town’s livelihood by spreading the news beyond its borders. The majority also oppose a tax to create a new water intake and filtering facility.
Miller may have seen parallels to the McCarthy-era witch hunts when he adapted Ibsen’s play.
Brandy Joe Plambeck is tremendous as Dr. Stockmann, a man pledged to do no harm, who struggles to protect the public while his own family is threatened and vilified.