Tara Arts transports Henrik Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People from a small town in late 19th Century Norway to a town in northern India during late 19th Century British-rule.
The Indian town is a popular pilgrimage centre and an experiment by the British administration in Indian civic rule. Dr. Somnath, the Dr. Thomas Stockmann character, is the medical officer of the town, discovering that its famous waters are polluted. Somnath has a radical proposal to safeguard the health of local citizens and pilgrims, but his brother, Prem Somnath, the British-appointed mayor of the town, opposes the idea.
As in Ibsen, the local press and small businesses support Dr. Somnath until they realise his plans will jeopardise the town’s economy which is dependent on the pilgrims who flock to the holy waters.
'Ibsen wrote An Enemy of the People in 1882, setting it in a small town in Norway. I have chosen to adapt his play to the same period but in a small town nine thousand miles away, in British India. The main themes of the play - the manipulative power of the media, the insidious nature of the repression of new ideas in modern society, the price of truth – seem to me as relevant in British India as they were in 19th century Norway, or, indeed, 21st century Britain.'
Director, Jatinder Verma.