The Hour We Knew Nothing Of Each Other

The Hour We Knew Nothing Of Each Other
The Hour We Knew Nothing Of Each Other
Written by Peter Handke
Date premiered 1992
Original language German
Genre One-act play
Setting A bright, empty town square

The Hour We Knew Nothing Of Each Other (German: Die Stunde, da wir nichts voneinander wußten) is a one-act play without words written by Peter Handke. The play has 450 characters and focuses on a day in the life of an unspecified town square. It was first performed in 1992.



In an interview with Sigrid Löffler for Profil in May 1992, Handke described the idea behind the play:

The trigger for the play was an afternoon several years ago. I'd spent the entire day on a little square in Muggia near Trieste. I sat on the terrace of a café and watched life pass by. I got into a real state of observation, perhaps this was helped along a bit by the wine. Every little thing became significant (without being symbolic). The tiniest procedures seemed significant of the world. After three or four hours a hearse drew up in front of a house, men entered and came out with a coffin, onlookers assembled and the dispersed, the hearse drove away. After that the hustle and bustle continued - the milling of tourists, natives and workers. Those who came after this occurrence didn't know what had gone on before. But for me, who had seen it, everything that happened after the incident with the hearse seemed somewhat coloured by it. None of the people on the square knew anything of each other - hence the title. But we,the onlookers see them as sculptures who sculpt each other through what goes on before and after. Only through what comes after does that which has gone before gain contours; and what went on before sculpts what is to come.[1]


The play was first staged in Vienna in 1992. It was first performed in the UK at the Edinburgh Festival in 1994.

It was produced with a new translation by Meredith Oakes at the Lyttelton Theatre, National Theatre, London, opening on 13 February 2008. The production ran until 12 April.[2] It was directed by James Macdonald with Jonathan Burrows as associate director and featured the following ensemble cast:

The technical crew were as follows:

  • Set Designer - Hildegard Bechtler
  • Costume Designer - Moritz Junge
  • Lighting Designer - Jean Kalman
  • Music - Mel Mercier
  • Sound Designer - Christopher Shutt

In 2009, Tantrum Theatre performed The Hour We Knew Nothing Of Each Other in the open-air of Wheeler Place, Newcastle, Australia [3]


External links

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