Climate Protesters Disrupt Broadway Play Starring Jeremy Strong

A trio of climate change protesters disrupted a performance of “An Enemy of the People,” starring Jeremy Strong, on Broadway Thursday night, shouting “no theater on a dead planet” as they were escorted out.

The show they disrupted is the best-selling new play on Broadway, thanks to audience interest in Strong, who is riding a wave of fame stemming from his portrayal of Kendall Roy in the HBO drama “Succession.” Strong stars in the play as a physician who becomes a pariah after discovering that his town’s spa baths are contaminated with bacteria; revealing that information could protect public health, but endanger the local economy.

The protest, before a sold-out crowd at the 828-seat Circle in the Square theater, confused some attendees, who initially thought it was part of the play. It was staged during the second half, during a town hall scene in which some audience members were seated onstage and some actors were seated among the audience members. Although the play was written by Henrik Ibsen in the 19th century, this new version, by Amy Herzog, has occasionally been described as having thematic echoes of the climate change crisis.

Strong remained in character through the protest, even at one point saying that a protester should be allowed to continue to speak, said Jesse Green, a critic for The New York Times who was among many journalists and critics who were in the audience for a press preview night. “I thought it was all scripted,” Green said. “The timing was perfect to fit into the town meeting onstage, and the subject was related.”

The protest was staged by a group called Extinction Rebellion NYC, which last year disrupted a performance at the Met Opera and a match at the U.S. Open semifinals. Other climate protesters around the world have taken to defacing works of art hanging in museums, but a spokesman for the New York group said that it had not engaged in that particular protest tactic.

A spokesman for Extinction Rebellion NYC, Miles Grant, explained the targeting of popular events by saying, “We want to disrupt the things that we love, because we’re at risk of genuinely losing everything the way things are going.”

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