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This project was successfully funded on July 16, 2017

An Enemy of the People

by Sod House Theater


After six exhilarating years of touring classic plays with contemporary relevance to site-specific locations in greater Minnesota, Sod House Theater is embarking on its most meaningful production to date. In the summer of 2017 we will tour a new bluegrass-infused adaptation of Ibsen's An Enemy of the People to four Minnesota communities (Fergus Falls, Bemidji, Granite Falls, and Battle Lake) to illuminate the water quality challenges facing our state and our nation. This innovative, enjoyable, and thought-provoking theater experience will address one of the most critical issues of our time and will inspire audiences to become advocates for water conservation.  

We are Luverne Seifert and Darcey Engen and we are co-artistic directors of Sod House Theater. As artists, educators, parents, and longtime Minnesota residents with roots in small towns, we are passionate about clean water and its impact on our state’s future. So, this summer we’re gathering together our most favorite and inspiring professional actors to help us shape this theater experience.

Written in 1882, An Enemy of the People examines how a community responds when a local doctor threatens to expose the fact that the waters it relies upon for tourism are being poisoned. It raises questions about how far a community will go in order to protect their town’s secret and prevent financial ruin. For this tour, we’ve chosen communities whose lakes/rivers are a major contributor to their tourism economy, and that have recently experienced water pollution issues. An Enemy of the People will raise awareness about each town’s unique water challenges, highlighting the importance of water quality and recreation as a form of tourism and economic development.

About a month before the show, we’ll travel to each location and spend two or three days in the community, providing free acting/voice/songwriting workshops for local artists and anyone who might be interested in performing. We’ll advertise our visits through our community theater and local music contacts, identifying 12-15 actors and musicians who will perform in the production later in the summer. We’ll incorporate live bluegrass music, including an original song that will be collaboratively created by the professional and community musicians in each town, and that will reflect their specific water challenges.

Once the play is rehearsed and ready for an audience, performances will take place on a waterfront location in each town, with audiences in close proximity to the performers, and even participating in the action. Following each performance, water experts from local organizations will facilitate community conversations about local water issues, sparking thoughtful ideas for water conservation. At An Enemy of the People, like all Sod House productions, you’ll experience a real sense of community and leave knowing that the only way we can make positive change is if we work together.

We are asking for your help in raising $15,000.00 for this tour of An Enemy of the People, to help cover the costs of travel, venues, artist pay, and administrative expenses. Any donations over our $15,000.00 goal will pay for tickets for community members in each city, as we aim to eliminate barriers to participation and make high quality, inspiring theater available to all. Thank you so much for supporting clean water and innovative theater, and please share this link with family and friends who also care about these vital issues!

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