Ripon College play ‘Paragon Springs’ examines fake news, power of facts

"Paragon Springs" rehearsal

The play “Paragon Springs” will be presented Nov. 28, 29, 30 and Dec. 1 at Ripon College. Performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Benstead Theatre, C.J. Rodman Center for the Arts.

The play, written by Steven Dietz, was commissioned by Milwaukee Repertory Theatre and is an adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s “An Enemy of the People,” written in 1882. It examines fake news, tainted water, mob rule and the power or lack of power in facts.

Deitz’s adaptation, set in a small Wisconsin town in 1926, carries on the same topicality that “seems even more relevant today in our divided, fractured society,” says director and Professor of Theatre Ken Hill.

“In 1926, several Wisconsin towns, like Waukesha, had an economy based in part on healing, pure, spring water. What happens when this economic miracle becomes tainted? How do we respond in the struggle between science and business, between truth and belief? What is the future of Paragon Springs?” Hill says.

Members of the cast include DeShawn Thomas ’20 of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, as Doctor Thomas Stockman; Ethan Freiermuth ’19 of Prairie Farm, Wisconsin, as Peter Stockman; Mackenzie Swart ’20 of Brookfield, Wisconsin, as Katrina Stockman; Heidi DeCaluwe ’20 of Jackson, Wisconsin, as Lorna Stockman; Race Rohde ’20 of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, as Erik Hovstad; Wil Bridenhagen ’21 of Neenah, Wisconsin, as Lars Hovstad; Bailey Jerrick ’20 of Stoughton, Wisconsin, as Rose Lindgren; Nick Tonn ’21 of Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, as Hollis Lindgren; Jack Clough ’19 of New Rochelle, New York, as Odegaard; Dakota Marlega ’21 of Waupaca, Wisconsin, as the Widow Kroger and Alaura Lemieux ’20 of Luck, Wisconsin; Garrett Radtke ’22 of Watertown, Wisconsin; Maria Reber ’21 of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin; and Mattie Ryback ’22 of New Berlin, Wisconsin, as the townspeople.

Members of the crew include Crystal Fercy ’19 of Appleton, Wisconsin, set designer; James “Jimmy” Balistreri ’19 of Plymouth, Wisconsin, lighting designer; Alaura Lemieux ’20 of Luck, Wisconsin, assistant director and assistant stage manager; Juan Baez ’19 of Carrollton, Texas, stage manager; Jeneva Lindsey ’21 of Juneau, Wisconsin, light board operator; Billy Stiggers ’22 of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, sound board operator; and Garrett Radtke ’22 of Watertown, Wisconsin, Maria Reber ’21 of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, and Mattie Ryback ’22 of New Berlin, Wisconsin, assistant stage managers.

Associate Professor of Theatre John Dalziel is the technical director, and Visiting Professor of Theatre Susan McDaniel Hill is the costume designer.

Tickets are free and can be reserved by contacting Barb Mitchell at 920-748-8791 or emailing her at [email protected]

(Photo: DeShawn Thomas, left, Heidi DeCaluwe and Mackenzie Swart appear in “Paragon Springs.”)