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Illinois Theatre adapts ‘The Whistleblower’ to fit COVID protocols and modern life

Illinois Theatre's production of “The Whistleblower” features an updated script, while maintaining costumes from 1880s Norway.

URBANA — Illinois Theatre’s production of “The Whistleblower” opens Friday night at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts in Urbana.

It’s an adaptation of the Henrik Ibsen play “Enemy of the People,” originally written in the 1880s.

Illinois Newsroom’s Brian Moline spoke with the show’s director, Genesee Spridco.

Listen to this interview here.

She says this is a devised adaptation of Ibsen’s work, which gives the actors more of a voice in creating their characters.

“In devising what we do, the actor is the playwright. They are the producer. They are the director, so they have a hand in what the voice is and what is being shaped to be the story,” Spridco said.

She says COVID-19 has made rehearsals for this show challenging, as at least one actor has been in quarantine almost every day, but it has also given them an opportunity to explore the impact of face masks.

“We have a different relationship now when we see each other face-to-face without a mask on versus when we decide we’re going to wear a mask,” Spridco said. “There’s certain people that start the show by being totally fine being unmasked with each other, and by the end they’re not okay with being unmasked with each other, and how that changes their relationship based on their level of safety and their level of appreciation for the world.”

“The Whistleblower” opens Friday night at Krannert Center’s Studio Theatre. Tickets are available for purchase online only. You can get tickets and find more information at krannertcenter.com.

Follow Brian on Twitter @BrianMolineWILL.

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Brian Moline

Brian Moline

Brian Moline is the Managing Editor of Illinois Newsroom and host of Morning Edition for Illinois Public Media/WILL. He's been with WILL since 2015, after a long stint at WDWS-AM in Champaign where he covered both news and sports for more than a decade. If you have story or interview ideas, you can reach Brian at bmoline@illinois.edu.

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