Health care reform of a darkly comic kind drives DR. KNOCK, OR THE TRIUMPH OF MEDICINE, Jules Romains’ tart 1923 satire of the medical profession. The play, which Mint Theater revived “with consummate savoir-faire”1 in 2010, proved once again “that one of the best ways to be topical is to look to the past”2

DR. KNOCK, OR THE TRIUMPH OF MEDICINE first opened in Paris in 1923. The play ran for an unprecedented five years and remained widely read and revived in France. The play made its New York premiere in 1928 but disappeared from the American consciousness until Gus Kaikkonen helmed his own translation of the play in 2010.

“Jules Romains’s DR. KNOCK, OR THE TRIUMPH OF MEDICINE is as funny as a play can be. It’s also as scary as a play can be. The Mint Theater Company’s New York production does full justice to both aspects,”3 hailed Bloomberg theater critic, John Simon. The New Yorker echoed this sentiment, claiming “Thomas M. Hammond is superb in the lead role, calculating and charismatic. The rest of the cast, most playing multiple parts, provide astute comic support, and Gus Kaikkonen directs with aplomb.”4

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CAST

  • Dr. Knock Thomas M. Hammond
  • Dr. Parpalaid Patrick Husted
  • Jean, M. Bernard, First Farmer Scott Barrow
  • Town Crier, MM. Mousquet, Second Farmer Chris Mixon
  • The Lady in Black, Madame Remy Jennifer Harmon
  • Madame Parpalaid, The Lady in Violet, The Maid Patti Perkins

CREATIVES

  • Set Design Charles Morgan
  • Costume Design Sam Fleming
  • Lighting Design William Armstrong
  • Sound Design Jane Shaw
  • Properties Design Deborah Gaouette
  • Hair and Wig Designer Gerard James Kelly
  • Casting
    Stuart Howard, Amy Schecter & Paul Hardt
  • Production Stage Manager Andrea Hayward
  • Assistant Stage Manager Lauren McArthur
  • Assistant Director Jenny Lord
  • Press Representative David Gersten & Associates
  • Illustration Stefano Imbert
  • Graphics Hunter Kaczorowski

JEANINE PARISIER PLOTTEL: JULES ROMAINS: AN INTRODUCTION

Jeanine Parisier Plottel is Professor Emeritus at Hunter College & The Graduate Center, CUNY, and former chair of the Hunter Department of Romance Languages, is the author of many articles and books in both French and English. The French government has decorated her twice for her contributions to French Language, Literature and Culture. She serves on several boards, including Barnard College, where she is a trustee, the Society for French American Cultural Exchange (FACE), the Columbia University Maison Française, and the NYU Institute of French Studies. She traces her intellectual genealogy to Jules Romains: her Ph. D. thesis advisor, friend, and mentor, Jean Hytier, was one of Jules Romains’s students.

JUDITH GRAVES MILLER: DR. KNOCK IN CONTEXT: A DISCUSSION OF THEATER IN FRANCE

Professor Judith Graves Miller is Chair of the Department of French at NYU and former Director of NYU in Paris from 1998-2003. Dr. Miller specializes in Francophone Literature (particularly theater). Professor Miller has done extensive work in 20th century French theater: Theory, Production and Text and is recognized as a leading authority on Francophone theater. In this discussion, she focuses on theater in France when Knock was first written and produced.

TOM BISHOP: JULES ROMAINS AND DR. KNOCK: THE BEST OF EUROPEAN THEATER IN THE 1920'S

Tom Bishop is Florence Gould Professor of French Literature at NYU and Director of NYU’s Center for French Civilization and Culture. His many publications include From the Left Bank: Reflections on the Modern French Theater and Novel, Remembering Roland Barthes: 20 Years Later, and L’Avant-garde thétrale: French Theater Since 1950. His writings on contemporary theater and on France and French-American relations have appeared in Le Monde, The New York Times Book Review, Yale French Studies, and elsewhere. Professor Bishop has been awarded the Grand Prize of the Académie Francaise and been named Officer of the French Legion of Honor, Commander of the French Order of Merit, and Officer of the French Order of Arts and Letters.

DANIEL GEROULD: KNOCK, ROMAINS, AND THE "UNANIMIST VISION"

Romains believed that life does not revolve around the individual but rather his place within the structure of contemporary society. His poem La Vie Unanime, like all of his subsequent writing gave expression to this newborn philosophy of “Unanism.” Professor Daniel Gerould explains Romains’ idea and discusses our play in this context.

Daniel Gerould is Distinguished Professor at CUNY Graduate Center. Major publications include:Theatre/Theory: Theory/Theatre (ed. Applause, 1999); Guillotine: Its Legend and Lore (Blast Books, 1992); The Witkiewicz Reader (ed. and trans. Northwestern University Press, 1992); Doubles, Demons, and Dreamers: An International Collection of Symbolist Drama (editor. Performing Arts Journal Publications, 1983); and American Melodrama (editor. Performing Arts Journal Publications, 1982). He is also the series editor of “Polish and Eastern European Archives” (Harwood) and editor of Slavic and East European Performance.

ALEXIS SOLOSKI: FEIGNED ILLNESS, A DISCUSSION OF THEATER AND MEDICINE

Alexis Soloski is a theater critic at The Village Voice and a contributor to The Guardian, The New York Times and BBC Radio. She is completing a dissertation at Columbia University, entitled Feigned Illness: Drama and Disease, which examines the interrelation of theater and medicine and locates the theaters themselves as fraught spaces in which both ideas and diseases can circulate.

DR. TERRY PERLIN: EXAMINING THE ETHICS OF DR. KNOCK

Dr. Terry Perlin is a consultant on medical ethics. He is the author of Clinical Medical Ethics: Cases in Practice (Little, Brown and Co.). He has been a faculty member at Williams College (MA); and a Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies and a Research Fellow at Scripps Gerontology Center at Miami University (OH), and has held appointments at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and the University of California, San Francisco.

Program

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