An ‘Enemy’ in the audience?

'People' opens at the Manhattan Theater Club

If Henrik Ibsen’s 1882 play “An Enemy of the People” isn’t among the playwright’s most familiar titles, it wasn’t always the case.

“When I was a kid, it was one of the ones you had to read,” said Boyd Gaines just after his opening night perf in the Manhattan Theater Club production of the play, which bowed Thursday at the Samuel J. Friedman Theater. MTC’s Lynne Meadow said the same, speculating that U.S. schools stopped teaching it when they gave up trying to teach morals. (She was only half-kidding.)

Gaines says he likes delivering a speech in the play that’s insulting to people of all political persuasions.

“People react very different every night,” he said at the post-opening party at Copacabana. “Tonight, somebody up in the balcony clapped at something no one should really be clapping about. I was like, ‘Really?’ “

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