Extinction Rebellion not ‘An Enemy of the People’

Extinction Rebellion not ‘An Enemy of the People’
Must see  -   Theatre

In a continuing trend of non-violent protest, Extinction Rebellion has once again made a very public splash in the arts realm. In the middle of a preview of a new Broadway production of Henrik Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People, a group of protestors, including an individual working at the production’s venue, stood up and spoke out about the growing climate disaster that threatens to wash theatres off the map.


An Enemy of the People is currently up at Circle in the Square Theatre starring succession actor Jeremy Strong as its lead. A new adaptation by Amy Herzog directed by Sam Gold, it is the story of a small-town doctor discovering a bacteria afflicting his local community and turning into a pariah in his attempt to help them. Simply put, it is no surprise that such thematic content would be the target of an Extinction demonstration. Before the group was ushered out, one of its pleading members called out “No theatre on a dead planet.”


Extinction Rebellion NYC and other like-minded forces, such as Just Stop Oil and the Extinction movement at large, have a vibrant history over the past several years of making a lot of noise in quiet spaces. From theatres to galleries, individuals have made themselves visible nuisances in order to draw attention to the issues plaguing our world. And while they have seen varying levels of effect and certainly some missed marks, it certainly does keep them present in the public eye.


There’s no doubt that the audience of this preview for Enemy of the People will be thinking about the events that unfolded. And that is largely the point of any demonstration. While it may be naive for the group to proclaim that they are being made as the enemy vs. destructive corporations when any non-political outburst would be met the same, it is necessary for us to take the messages of our art to heart and push for the safety of our planet—if we hope to live to see another show interrupted.