Saturday, March 21, 2009

Spa Scandals

In Henrik Ibsen's An Enemy of the People the water source of a lucrative spa is polluted and the town officials scramble to cover it up. I’ve been researching similar scandals for Red Tape’s contemporary adaptation. Here are some of my favorites.

Shirahone Hot Springs, Japan, 2004
The owners were caught dyeing their waters white to maintain the springs
“milky color” and selling bottled spring water that was actually boiled tap
water. The Mayor’s son told the press “We have sinned.”

Beijing’s Hot Springs, China, 2007
When two thirds of the cities resorts failed bacteria tests the bureau of
health advised visitors to “take showers before and after bathing.”

The pollution in An Enemy of the People was caused by city regulated dumping of local agribusiness. Waste regulations are just as controversial today.

Rockwell City’s Pig Lagoons, Iowa, 2003
State certified “odor inspectors” study hog farm smells to determine
regulations after a series of lawsuits accuse farmers of decreasing property
values with their pig waste lagoons.

British Petroleum and Lake Michigan, Indiana, 2007
And a little closer to home, it took massive public uproar to overturn
British Petroleum’s permit to increase their chemical dumps into Lake Michigan.

An Enemy of the People performs May 4-30, 2009.
Buy tickets at

Paul G. Miller
Season Dramaturge

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