Community project puts 100 volunteers on stage

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WITH no spoken dialogue and 450 characters, The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other, Peter Handke’s play without words, should take the term ‘people watching’ to a new level at the Royal Lyceum, this week.

The community production, cast using nearly 100 volunteers, of the play inspired by a scene witnessed in an Italian square is ‘narrated by music and animated by unspoken interaction’.

Wils Wilson, director, explains, “Directing Peter Handke’s The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other, is a once in a lifetime experience for a director. “The play takes place in a city square where, over the course of an hour, 450 characters pass by. Not a single word is spoken but hundreds of stories are told.

“Shifting from the real to the surreal, from the ridiculous to the intensely moving, it is a hymn to our shared humanity, to our desperate need to know one another and to the impossibility of doing so.

“It’s a unique theatrical proposition and I’m thrilled - and slightly terrified - to be given the chance to direct it. We’ll be working with a large community cast made up of Edinburgh citizens alongside a small group of professional performers.

“I think of it as a love song to the city and its people in all their glorious diversity and I can’t wait to get started.”

Written in 1992, the piece is by award-winning Austrian playwright, novelist, and political activist Handke. Widely regarded as one of the most original contemporary German-language writers, he is celebrated for creating performances uninhibited by conventional plot, dialogue, and characters.

The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other, Royal Lyceum, Grindlay Street, Thursday-2 June, 7.30pm (2pm), £15, 0131-248 48484