Northern Illinois University

NIU Office of Public Affairs

News Release

Contact: David Booth/Elisabeth DeWispelaere, NIU School of Theatre and Dance
(815) 753-1337

February 11, 2009

School of Theatre and Dance presents
Henrik Ibsen’s ‘Pillars of the Community’

DeKalb, Ill. — Sometimes even the most prominent and respected members of the community are not all that they pretend to be.

Opening on the O’Connell Theatre mainstage Thursday, Feb. 19, Henrik Ibsen’s play, “Pillars of the Community,” chronicles the tribulations of a successful shipyard owner whose success is based on lies. It is the next production of the Northern Illinois University School of Theatre and Dance 2008-2009 season.

According to Chicago-based guest director Kevin Fox, “Pillars of the Community” easily connects with recent events in today’s world, especially when it comes to some of our former government leaders.

“We can all get behind political leaders whose flawed decisions mislead us,” Fox explains, “because none of us is perfect. The desire to get ahead, greed, lust, and regret have an effect on all our daily lives.”

Fox says the play, set in the late 1850s, is rarely performed and the re-translation being used for this show is new.

The play takes place in a Norwegian coastal community, where businessman Karsten Bernick’s wealth is based on its shipping industry. However, he thinks he can make even more money by bringing a railroad to his small town. 

He quietly buys up land the railroad will have to buy from him at a profit. Just as he is about to announce his powerful support for the new railroad, two people from his past come back into his life. 

Secrets about Bernick’s past, including a long lost flame and stolen money, which Bernick claims as his own fortune, threaten his plans and his standing in the community.

“Pillars of the Community” runs Thursday, Feb. 19, through Sunday, March 1, in the Stevens Building O’Connell Theatre on the DeKalb NIU campus, located behind McDonald’s restaurant on west Lincoln Highway. 

Performances are 7:30 p.m. weekdays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $14 for adults, $10 for seniors and $7 for students with an ID, and can be purchased at the Stevens Building box office, by calling (815) 753-1600 or online at

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