Enemy of the People

“A shiny one-woman show starring the formidable Ann Dowd…an endlessly and effortlessly compelling actor.”
The New York Times

“The biggest, fanciest, splashiest in-person indoor theater event in New York since the shutdown”
New York Magazine

Building on the institution’s commitment to presenting spectacular, unconventional productions that cannot be mounted in traditional theaters, Park Avenue Armory announces the fourth commissioned work in its Social Distance Hall series: the world premiere of Enemy of the People, written by Henrik Ibsen and adapted by the groundbreaking director and playwright Robert Icke (1984, The Doctor, Mary Stuart, Hamlet, Oresteia, and Oedipus). As conceived by Robert Icke, the play weaves a tale of morality, suspense, and controversy, with multiple characters represented by a single actor—Emmy Award-winning actor Ann Dowd (The Handmaid’s Tale).

Commissioned by Park Avenue Armory and developed during the pandemic, the play centers on a small former manufacturing town that has been revitalized as a resort destination due to its natural hot springs. When a scientist, who is the sister of the town’s Mayor, finds that the water is contaminated and the baths must be shut down, a democratic society confronts, in public and in private, a complex ethical crisis. The audience will be seated at tables and will be invited to vote as a group at critical moments of the story—and the majority vote will determine the play’s direction at each juncture.

Please note that at check-in on the day of the performance, you will be required to show proof of vaccination and a government-issued photo ID. The performance date must be at least 14 days since you received your last dose of the vaccine.

Image © DBOX


As of July 10, 2021, all remaining performances of Enemy of the People have been canceled.

June 22–August 8, 2021

Previews: June 22–June 29
Performances: June 30–August 8

Evenings at 7:30pm
Matinees at 2:00pm

Wade Thompson Drill Hall
A Social Distance Hall Production

This performance is approximately 90 minutes with no intermission.

After Henrik Ibsen, by Robert Icke
With Ann Dowd
Scenic and Costume Design
Hildegard Bechtler
Lighting Design Natasha Chivers
Projection and Video Design Tal Yarden
Sound Design Mikaal Sulaiman

Creative Team & Company Biographies

More Information
Robert Icke

Robert Icke is an award-winning writer and theatre director best known for his modern adaptations of classic texts. Recent original productions include Oedipus and After Nora at Internationaal Theater Amsterdam (2020, 2018), and The Doctor, based on Arthur Schnitzler’s Professor Bernhardi at the Almeida Theatre in London (2019). Other recent productions include Anton Chekhov’s Ivanov at Schauspiel Stuttgart (2019) and William Shakespeare’s Hamlet at the Almeida Theatre and West End (2017).

In 2018, Icke won the Kurt Hübner Award for his debut production in Germany, an adaptation of Oresteia, and was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He is the youngest ever winner of the Olivier Award for ‘Best Director’ for Oresteia (2015), which also won the ‘Best Director’ prize at both the Critics’ Circle and Evening Standard Theatre Awards.

Ann Dowd

Ann Dowd, a veteran stage and screen actress, was the recipient of the 2017 Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her performance as “Aunt Lydia” on Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale. For her work on the hit show, now in its fourth season, Dowd has also won a 2017 Critics’ Choice Award and was nominated for a 2018 Golden Globe award and multiple Screen Actors Guild awards, plus a second Emmy nomination in 2018. Dowd also received a 2017 Emmy nomination for her portrayal of “Patty Levin” on the beloved HBO series The Leftovers, a role she portrayed for three seasons.

On the Broadway stage, Dowd has appeared in “The Seagull” with Kristen Scott Thomas and Carey Mulligan, “Taking Sides” with Ed Harris, Elizabeth Marvel and Michael Stuhlbarg and “Candida” alongside Robert Sean Leonard and Mary Steenburgen, for which she received the Clarence Derwent Award given to the season’s most promising newcomer. Dowd has also starred in notable Off-Broadway and regional productions of “Night Is A Room,” “The Normal Heart,” “Doubt,” “Blood from a Stone” with Ethan Hawke, and “A Different Room,” for which she was awarded the Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Actress.

For her work on the big screen, Dowd was the recipient of a Best Supporting Actress award from the National Board of Review for her performance in Craig Zobel’s psychological thriller Compliance. She was also nominated for an Independent Spirit Award and Critics’ Choice Award for the role. Additional film roles include Hereditary, American Animals, Captain Fantastic, St. Vincent, Marley & Me, Garden State, Flags of Our Fathers, and Philadelphia. Her notable TV roles include the award-winning Foxtel series Lambs of God, Olive Kitteridge, recurring roles on Good Behavior, Masters of Sex, Quarry, Nothing Sacred, Judging Amy, Third Watch, Freaks and Geeks, and appearances on At Home with Amy Sedaris, True Detective, Louie, Girls, House, Chicago Hope, The X-Files, and NYPD Blue.

Dowd will next be seen in the feature film “MASS,” written and directed by Fran Kranz, scheduled for release this fall.

Hildegard Bechtler (Scenic and Costume Design)

Hildegard Bechtler is an award-winning designer based in London.

Select theater credits: Arcadia, Primo, The Seagull (Broadway); The Sunshine Boys (Los Angeles); My Name is Rachel Corrie (Off-Broadway); After the Dance (Olivier Award); Iphigenia at Aulis (Evening Standard Award nomination); Antony and Cleopatra (Royal National Theatre); Top Hat (Olivier Award nomination), Hedda Gabler, The Crucible, The Master Builder; The Misanthrope (West End). She designed Krapp’s Last Tape with Harold Pinter at The Royal Court and, most recently, Four Quartets with Ralph Fiennes.

Previous work with Robert Icke: Oresteia (Olivier Award nomination), Hamlet, Mary Stuart (Almeida, West End); The Doctor, Uncle Vanya (Almeida); Ivanov (Stuttgart Schauspielhaus); Oedipus, Kinderen van Nora (Internationaal Theater Amsterdam).

Designs for opera and ballet include productions for Paris, Salzburg, Santa Fe Opera, La Scala, and the Royal Opera House, as well as the world premieres of The Exterminating Angel for the Metropolitan Opera and The Cellist for the Royal Ballet. Bechtler won the Australian Green Room Award for Best Opera Design for Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk at Sydney Opera House.

Natasha Chivers (Lighting Design)

Theater includes: The Doctor, Hamlet, Oresteia (Almeida/West End); Shoe Lady, White Pearl, The Cane, Bad Roads, Adler & Gibb, The Mistress Contract, The Djinns of Eidgah (Royal Court); The Antipodes, Sunset at the Villa Thalia, Statement of Regret (National Theatre); Ivanov (Staatstheatre Stuttgart); Allelujah (The Bridge); The American Clock, Sylvia (Old Vic); Oedipus (Toneelgroep Amsterdam); 1984 (West End/Broadway); The Taming of the Shrew (Globe); Green Snake (National Theatre of China); The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning (National Theatre Wales); Macbeth (Broadway); 27, The Wolves in the Walls, Home (National Theatre of Scotland).

Dance includes: Message in a Bottle (Sadler’s Wells); Strapless, Electric Counterpoint (Royal Opera House); Electric Hotel (Sadler’s Wells); Motor Show (LIFT and Brighton Festival); Nobody, Broken and Scattered (Motionhouse); Belonging (Skånes Dansteater, Sweden).

Awards include: UK Theatre Award (Happy Days); Olivier Award (Sunday in the Park with George), Drama Desk nomination (1984 on Broadway), and Olivier nomination (Oresteia).

Mikaal Sulaiman (Sound Design)

Black Artist Retreat by Theaster Gates (Park Avenue Armory). Off-Broadway: Sanctuary City, Light Shining in Buckinghamshire (NYTW); Fires in the Mirror (Signature Theatre); Continuity (Manhattan Theatre Club); Passage, Fairview (Soho Rep); Meet Vera Stark (Signature Theatre); Blue Ridge (Atlantic Theatre); The Thanksgiving Play (Playwrights Horizons); Rags Parkland, Underground Railroad Game (Ars Nova); Master (Foundry Theatre Co.); Skittles: The Broadway Musical. Regional: Berkeley Rep, The Alley, Woolly Mammoth, Baltimore Center Stage, Trinity Rep, Pig Iron, Syracuse Stage, Seattle Rep, Arden Theatre, Early Morning Opera. Sulaiman has received nominations from Drama Desk Award, Lucille Lortel Award, SF Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle, Theatre Bay Area Award, and Audelco Award. He is a recipient of the CTG Sherwood Award and the Henry Hewes Design Award. Sulaiman is also currently the Head of Sound Design Concentration at the Yale School of Drama.

Tal Yarden (Projection and Video Design)

Tal Yarden collaborated with Robert Icke on Hamlet (Almeida/Pinter) and Oedipus (ITA). At the Armory, he designed Les Damnés (Comédie Française). Current projects include Get Up, Stand Up, Anna X (West End). Broadway: Network, Sunday in the Park with George, The Crucible, Indecent, Waverly Gallery. Off-Broadway: Between the World and Me (Apollo), King Lear (Public), The Misanthrope, Lazarus (NYTW), Roman Tragedies, Antigone, Fountainhead, Kings of War, Cries & Whispers (BAM). London: My Brilliant Friend (National), Obsessione, Antonioni Project (Barbican), Exterminating Angel (Royal Opera). Europe: Mahagonny (Festival d’Aix), Boris Godounov (Opéra Bastille), Les Damnés (Comédie Française), Idomeneo, La Clemenza di Tito (La Monnaie), Brokeback Mountain (Teatro Real), Macbeth (Opéra de Lyon), Salome, Der Schatzgräber (De Nederlandse Opera). He has directed video for Pat McGrath, Rick Owens, Balenciaga, Alicia Keys, Snoop Dogg, and James Brown. Awards include: Lucille Lortel (Network); Moliere Award (Les Damnés), Drama Desk Nomination (Lazarus), Tony Nomination (Network).

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