by Tyler Price '19
Knox College will stage the world premiere of Professor of Theatre Neil Blackadder’s translation of Before Sunrise on Wednesday through Saturday, October 24-27. The work, by German playwright Ewald Palmetshofer, will be performed at Harbach Theatre in the Ford Center for the Fine Arts.
Before Sunrise tells a story charged with both political, familial, and mental health-based drama. Opening at 7:30 p.m., the show will cost $10 for adults and $5 for alumni and seniors, while Knox College students and community member admission will be free.
Blackadder thinks the content of the production will be especially engaging for a college audience.
“The central conflict is between two men who became friends in college and have since evolved in different directions, especially politically, and I imagine student audience members will find that thought-provoking,” said Blackadder, the production’s director. “The play also deals a lot with dynamics within a family and between generations—and we can all relate to how important and influential those are.”
Blackadder knows the writer he is translating well, having been a follower of his work and sharing the same agent for some years. Blackadder has translated a total of four of Palmetshofer’s works into contemporary English, two of which earned showings from Chicago to New York to London.
Upon hearing the basis of Palmetshofer’s newest work, Blackadder felt compelled to bring it to life at Knox. “When I learned that this script was less formally challenging, more straightforward, than most of Ewald's plays, I proposed that I translate it and direct the first English-language production with students; Ewald immediately agreed that this would be a great idea,” said Blackadder.
Before Sunrise is the first mainstage production of the 2018-19 season. During winter term, the Knox Department of Theatre will start the immersive Repertory Theatre Term—known as Rep Term. Rep Term is the only undergraduate theatre immersion program in the U.S. that combines academic study with hands-on production experience.