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When is it noteworthy when a female actor takes on a role originally written for a male actor? I've been pondering this question as Tarragon Theatre's fantastic present-day production of An Enemy of the People is now back on stage in Toronto — with a, perhaps, notable casting change at its centre. Stockmann, the main character in this update of Henrik Ibsen's drama, was played by Joe Cobden last season. For the current remount, however, Laura Condlln has stepped into the part of Stockmann — a researcher who discovers that the city baths, the main source of economic activity in her small town, are environmentally contaminated.

It is rare that a female actor replaces a male actor in a production — and that's why I initially felt Condlln's casting was exciting news. In Canadian theatre, the majority of theatregoers are female, while women are still underrepresented as directors, playwrights and even in acting companies — and so such outside-the-box casting by An Enemy of the People 's director Richard Rose is welcome.

However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that Condlln is not doing anything at Tarragon that she hasn't done many times before during her 11 seasons at the Stratford Festival. For most of theatre's history as an art form, women were not allowed on the stage — and so when you saw the talented Condlln playing Chrysothemis in Elektra or Helena in A Midsummer Night's Dream at Stratford, she was playing roles originally written for male actors, too.

And, of course, turning historical casting on its head by even casting women as male characters is not uncommon or new in classical theatre — from Rose's production of King Lear starring Patricia Hamilton in the s to Seana McKenna playing Richard III in Stratford just a few years ago. On the other hand, a critic would be right to note that what Condlln is doing at Tarragon doesn't happen every day: She's playing Stockmann as a woman, not as a man, and the character has gone through a gender transition.

It required only the alteration of a handful of pronouns and adjectives in Florian Borchmeyer's adaptation. So, unlike the male actors who played Chrysothemis or Helena in ancient Athens or Elizabethan London, Condlln is playing a part in line with her own gender identity and her own sexuality, too — as the doctor is still in a relationship with a woman. That's an opportunity that didn't come along often for Condlln in Stratford. For Tarragon's audiences, however, will the fact that Dr. Stockmann is now played by a woman as a woman make An Enemy of the People any different?

Theater Review: A Rousing “Enemy of the People” at Yale Rep

Will it actually alter how the play is received any more substantially than that an older actor, David Fox, is replacing Richard McMillan as Stockmann's father-in-law? Or that Tamara Podemski — who plays Stockmann's wife — is pregnant for this run and so, in this mostly naturalistic production, her character is too? Rose doesn't think so. Stockmann has to be a man," says the director, whose production is based on a celebrated one from Berlin's Schaubuehne directed by Thomas Ostermeier.

And so gender really wasn't an issue. In a way then, what may be remarkable about Condlln's casting is how unremarkable it is — as Condlln points out that Ontario has a female, gay premier and same-sex marriage has been fully legal in Canada for a decade now. Perhaps theatre artists are only beginning to realize how much recent triumphs of gay rights have opened up opportunities for gender-blind casting, though. In particular, thanks to same-sex marriage, it is easier than ever to substitute female characters for male ones and vice versa in contemporary, realistic plays — and updated productions of older ones.

So many plays written since Ibsen — the father of modern, naturalistic drama — centre on marriages and, as Rose argues, even the term "same-sex marriage" is beginning to sound old-fashioned. Many female actors believe that the word "actress" is an archaic term, too — and should go the way of aviatrix or editrix. But "actress" does survive, largely because most theatre productions, unlike An Enemy of the People , cast along gender lines. A rt to Admire. Dinner with the Family.

Delicious dining with your loved ones around the table.

You're INN-vited! Get cozy by the fire when you lodge in Hershey or Harrisburg! From stadium rock to coffee shop concerts! Stockmann makes a shocking discovery that will set brother against brother and neighbor against neighbor. Though written by Ibsen in and adapted by Miller in , An Enemy Of The People grapples with timeless, societal themes such as political and social corruption, science denial, media manipulation, power, class and the isolation of the principled versus the tyranny of the mob.

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Review: An Enemy of the People, Belvoir

Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of Art, an Enemy of the People. Can art be radical? Not very likely. This book is more important now than when it was published in before the radicals were old enough to score jobs at marketing firms. Back then, artists pretended to be radical cause it was hip, and, you know, sold more shit. Now they know better, don't give a shit, and head straight from art school to marketing firms. The result is advertising using imagery of revolution. You want a good advertisement?

Well, fucking recruit a former Marxist or Anarchist Can art be radical? Well, fucking recruit a former Marxist or Anarchist to design a nice little campaign for you. After all, they know the game of propaganda, right?


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And what role did punk rock play in all of this? Well, it was loud enough and powerful enough to finally make the capitalists see that hiring these assholes with tattoos and torn up clothing was in their best interests. Punk rock was a bunch of assholes banging their heads against the walls of corporate America begging to be let in, or else! Or else, what? Or else they'd burn the fucking place down like a bunch of spoiled little children. And so they let them in. And boy was that a good idea!

Now no one can tell the difference between an Exxon Advertisement and a call for revolution. But who the fuck cares what the difference is, anyway?

People like things that stir them up. It's a drug. They get high. Doesn't matter if it is an advertisement for a certain micro-brew fuck you Magic Hat or a call for bombarding the headquarters. People like that fuzzy feeling. None of what I wrote above is in this book, but it sure did help me think about these things. I highly recommend it. Jul 26, Chris rated it it was amazing. I noticed, but didn't read, this book years ago when I was an undergraduate.

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Taylor isn't opposed to people painting, writing poetry, making music Shades of Foucault, Bourdieu and Nietzsche here, but written in deliberately accessible language and without apparent direct influence from any of them though I noticed, but didn't read, this book years ago when I was an undergraduate. Shades of Foucault, Bourdieu and Nietzsche here, but written in deliberately accessible language and without apparent direct influence from any of them though Sartre is plainly in evidence.


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The first chapter debunks the notion of "art" as an eternal and universal category in favour of a view of it as a kind of tyranny of taste exercised by elites as a social marker and leaving the bewildered masses excluded and feeling inadequate. The second attacks Marxist writing on art as being effectively an uncritical attempt to save the values of the haute bourgeoisie from the corrosive philistinism of the market hence the appeal of Marxism to the "sensitive" intellectual.

The final chapter explores the assimilation of jazz into art, the shifting historical meanings of the desire for jazz to become "art" and the differing psychological and social needs served by this at different times. Taylor's view is that the aspiration to be "art" ended up killing jazz as a musical and social form. The book appeared in the Harvester "Philosophy Now" series in , a series somewhat associated with Radical Philosophy.

Art, an Enemy of the People (Philosophy now) - AbeBooks - Roger Taylor:

It was oppositional then and anything like it would be now. You can't see a book like this getting a good score in the UK's Research Excellence Framework or, indeed, getting taken seriously as philosophy. Which is a shame. Jun 23, Stevphen Shukaitis rated it really liked it. This is an interesting and often forgotten book. I came across it after reading an interview where Stewart Home talks about it. Basically his argument is much in line with the avant-garde argument against art as a specialized and separated sphere of activity.

The question is why we can see class or culture as historically and socially produced and emergent phenomenon, but for some strange reason still fall back on the notion of art as a universal and ahistorical category.