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March 30, 2011

Celebrating 60th Anniversary of an Enemy of the People

The Arthur Miller Journal Presents a Staged Reading of Arthur Miller Play

Fans and followers of celebrated American playwright Arthur Miller came out to St. Francis College on March 30 to mark the 60th anniversary of the Broadway premiere of his play An Enemy of the People.

The event, A Spring Colloquy, was timed with the publication of the Spring 2011 issue of the Arthur Miller Journal and featured a Keynote Address from Miller scholar Enoch Brater and a staged reading of the play.

Brater, the Kenneth T. Rowe Distinguished Professor of Dramatic Literature at the University of Michigan spoke about the play, saying that An Enemy of the People, “reveals a great deal about his commitment to American society and also to his commitment to making American Drama part of the national conversation that any healthy democracy needs to have about himself.” He noted that Miller’s play confronted political, moral, and social issues that continue to haunt American society, even sixty years later. (Watch the entire lecture)

Miller first became acquainted with the work of Henrik Ibsen and was inspired by them, particularly Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People when he was an undergraduate studying at the University of Michigan. Miller was drawn to Ibsen’s portrayal of the individual and each person’s relationship to larger society.

Brater pointed out that while many people associate Miller’s play, The Crucible, with his stance against the Joseph McCarthy Communism hearings, An Enemy of the People was actually his first work on the subject. Miller wrote his adaptation to display the talents of his friends Fredric March and March’s wife, Florence Eldridge, who had been called before the House Un-American Activities Committee.

After the talk, the St. Francis College Department of Communication Arts presented a reading of The Stockmann Brothers, an adaption of Ibsen and Miller’s An Enemy of the People, written and directed by Professor Timothy Dugan. The cast included Dr. Dugan as well as fellow professors James Turner, and Martina Karels with stage notes from student Chelsea Clark ‘11. Other students and recent alumni contributed to the production of the performance.

The Arthur Miller Journal provides a lasting legacy to the legendary playwright's significant contributions to American Drama. It is published twice yearly under the auspices of St. Francis College in cooperation with the Arthur Miller Society and the Arthur Miller Centre at the University of East Anglia.

By Richard Loutfi

St. Francis College, founded in 1859 by the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn, is located in Brooklyn Heights, N.Y. Since its founding, the College has pursued its Franciscan mission to provide an affordable, high-quality education to students from New York City’s five boroughs and beyond.
St. Francis College, 180 Remsen Street, Brooklyn Heights, NY 11201

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