April 22, 2011
Noel Sherrard as King Berenger confronts members of the audience with his anxieties about death, in a live performance photo from Exit the King
"Exit the King" -- May 11-14, 7:30 p.m.
Harbach Theatre, Ford Center for the Fine Arts
Post-show discussion Friday, May 13
Tickets: $10 adults, $5 senior citizens, Knox alumni, and free to all Knox students, faculty and staff. Advance reservations at 309-341-7472.
King Berenger has ruled for four centuries, but even monarchs are not immortal. "You are going to die in an hour and a half... at the end of this show," one of his two wives tells him.
The Knox College production of Eugene Ionesco's "Exit the King" explores both the comedy and the sense of impending doom contained in King Berenger's resistance to an otherwise unsurprising pronouncement -- his own mortality.
The king's denial of reality is the starting point for Ionesco's 1962 philosophical comedy about our relationships to living and dying, according to the director, Neil Blackadder, associate professor of theatre.
While King Berenger once ruled over millions of people, by the time that the play opens, his kingdom has shrunk to fewer than a thousand aging subjects. His court is far from impressive: a guard, a maid, and a doctor who also serves as astrologist and executioner. One of the king's wives comforts him, while the other urges him to face the truth.
"Ionesco is one of the key figures of so-called 'absurdist' theatre, a movement that evolved in the 1950s in France," Blackadder says . "Ionesco, Samuel Beckett, and others began to dispense with almost all the conventional features of dramatic writing and instead explored existential issues. Their imagery creates a universe that is both fantastical and recognizable."
Founded in 1837, Knox is a national liberal arts college in Galesburg, Illinois, with students from 48 states and 51 countries. Knox's "Old Main" is a National Historic Landmark and the only building remaining from the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debates.
Above and below, Noel Sherrard as King Berenger, Dakota Deveraux Scott as Queen Marie; additional rehearsal photos below credits.
Exit the King, by Eugene Ionesco
May 11-14, 2011 -- Harbach Theatre, Knox College
Guard ~ Jacob Schneider
Queen Marguerite ~ Tracy Ewert
Juliette ~ Chloe Luetkemeyer
Queen Marie ~ Dakota Devereux Scott
Doctor ~ Jack Dryden
King ~ Noel Sherrard
Director ~ Neil Blackadder
Set Designer ~ Craig Choma
Sound Designer ~ Alex Robertson
Props Designer ~ Kathryn Haynes
Lighting Designers ~ Ivy Reid, Craig Choma
Master Electrician ~ Emily Harvey
Scenic Artists ~ Lauren Neiheisel, Craig Choma
Costume Designer ~ Alison Smith
Stage Manager ~ Liz Picurro
Assistant Stage Managers ~ Marina Capizzi, Jordyn Stewart
Production Assistant ~ Jon Hewelt
Noel Sherrard as King Berenger, Jacob Schneider as the guard, in rehearsal for Exit the King
Jack Dryden as the doctor, Noel Sherrard as King Berenger