The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other
by Peter Handke
Some years ago, playwright Peter Handke was sitting in a town square watching people come and go. Suddenly men carrying a coffin emerged from a house and transformed the square into a stage, lending each vignette that followed – a woman walking her dog, a couple having an argument, a man jogging – special meaning.
Inspired by this experience, The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other is a play without words, narrated by music and animated by unspoken interaction. It has 450 characters.
FROM THE DIRECTOR:
“The play asks the question what is a stage direction anyway? If a play says “A man enters”, does that mean a short guy or tall guy, entering from the left or right, blond, funny-looking, old, young…etc. Handke makes a play out of the subjectivity of describing the stage, and in turn, describing the labels we attach to ourselves and others in life. Our impressions, how we label ourselves and others, are often mistaken and full of cliche, yet we build our meanings from these impressions. Handke’s play swims in these ideas. The performance will be a romp of an experience; deeply physical and full of joie de vivre, as they say.
The “script” is only stage directions. When you try and read it as you would an ordinary play, you get stumped. In fact, I got completely frustrated the first several times I read it. But after awhile, when I embraced my own ignorance, and approached the play as Handke’s subjective take on what he was seeing, it all started to make a lot more sense. The play asks the reader to do something unique: write the play as you read it. Handke describes the experiences, you fill them out, and connect them to your own experience. It’s a pretty fabulous adventure once you take that risk.” – Phil Soltanoff