The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other, Peter Handke's provocative and wordless drama, opens on Thursday, April 27, at the University of Rochester's Todd Theatre on the River Campus. The production will be presented by the University's International Theatre Program, known for its challenging and adventurous theatrical work, and runs at 8 p.m. on April 27, 28, 29, and May 4, 5, and 6, with a 3 p.m. matinee on Sunday, April 30.
Handke, an Austrian, is one of the pre-eminent German-language writers of the late 20th century. His other credits include the experimental dramas Kaspar, which is often compared to Beckett's Waiting for Godot; Offending the Audience; and The Ride Across Lake Constance. He also is the author of the novel The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick; the memoir A Sorrow Beyond Dreams; and the screenplay for the 1987 German film Wings of Desire.
The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other, with a cast of 25 actors playing more than 450 characters, contains no dialogue. The play charts the progress of its multiple characters as they pass through a public square and sometimes interact with each other in startling, unpredictable, and often comical ways. The work explores human truths about love, war, innocence, delusion, youth, age, vivacity, and death. The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other engages its audience as a group of "people watchers" who see a reflection of their community, their history, and the myths by which people live.
Additionally, audiences for The Hour We Knew of Nothing will be treated to a second Handke play, Self-Accusation, performed as a prologue or curtain raiser for the main production. Self-Accusation will be performed in Todd Theatre lobby starting one hour before the main performance, at 7 p.m. before evening shows and 2 p.m. before the matinee.
The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other is directed by Nigel Maister, who has been the artistic director of the International Theatre Program since 2002. Maister has trained as both an actor and director and received his Master of Fine Arts degree from Carnegie Mellon University. He has acted in Europe, South Africa, and the United States, is the recipient of a several awards, and is a founding member and resident theatre director of the new music group Alarm Will Sound.
Maister also designed the production's set, which features a large-scale mural by a well-known Rochester group of urban graffiti artists, FuaKrew. The work will be sold by silent auction over the course of the production's run.
Other production staff includes costume designer Deanna Berg, who has worked extensively with dancer/choreographers Mikhael Baryshnikov and Lucinda Childs, and has designed theatre work for the Barrow Group, the Manhattan Ensemble Theatre, the Williamstown Theatre Festival, and others; lighting designer Peter Ksander, a recipient of this year's National Endowment for the Arts/Theatre Communications Group Career Development Grant for Designers; and sound designer Anthony Gabriele, a musician, visual artist, and performer.
Tickets for The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other are $10 for the general public; $8 for senior citizens and for University of Rochester faculty, staff, and alumni; and $6 for University of Rochester students. They can be reserved online at www.rochester.edu/theatre or by calling the box office at (585) 275-4088. Tickets can also be purchased at the door, one hour before the performance.