Home Events An enemy of the people, concept and directing Ioana Păun

An enemy of the people, concept and directing Ioana Păun

A co-production Mic Theater in Bucharest & Romanian Association for Promotion of Performing Arts (ARPAS)

In Ibsen’s text one individual, a doctor, confronts with what the author labeled a “tyranny of the compact liberal majority”, when she exposes the contamination of the waters in their thermal village. What would easily intimidate many – the risk her family’s safety – triggers furthermore her fight for truth and liberty. Left without a place to live and a job, she starts an anarchist school. Ibsen didn’t want to imagine how this school would be like.

Criticizing society does not require too much risk, especially nowadays with the seemingly democratic digital mediums in the western world where one can express her/his views without the threat of dropping out of the crowd. Building the structural alternative is the hardest part.

The performance takes distance from today and moves into Ibsen’s simple-cut narrative: a doctor discovers their local baths are contaminated and are harming people. She naively hopes the city will invest in restoring the pipe, naively pursues to publish the study, and naively addresses the local business-men publically. From a respected local figure she becomes an outcast, labelled as anti-social and anti-liberal for allegedly trying to ruin local economies.

In parallel to Ibsen’s story the crew moves into present Romania, where a foreign firm is planning to build the biggest formaldehyde factory in the country, while the authorities are hiding behind unregulated environmental assessments and the local environment guard has no equipment to measure the toxic emissions. Formaldehyde presents high risks of cancer and the local community is organising to force the compact block of public and private institutions to abort the plans of building the new factory.

Combining the imagined Norwegian story and the concrete actions in Romania, the piece interrogates how and if the majority can turn itself from an inert and resistant block, into a self-organisational model and what takes to create, at first fragile, forms of anarchy without degenerating into institutionalised hierarchic structures.


Emilia Dobrin, Mihaela Rădescu, Ioana Flora, Ilinca Manolache, Cătălina Bălălău