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AUDIENCES LOVE THE MINT:

F U RT H E R R E A D I N G S S E R I E S :

P RO F E S S O R B E R N H A R D I By Arthur Schnitzler

Longtime friends of the Mint know Arthur Schnitzler as the Austrian playwright who wrote plays of piercing psychological insight; Mint has produced his dramas FAR AND WIDE and THE LONELY WAY.

I love the way you find ‘forgotten’ plays and writers and mount them regardless of cast size. It is a brave undertaking, even in the best of times. Please keep up this necessary work.

We have been going to the Mint for several years now and look forward to every new (old) play.

I can’t believe I’d never heard of this fine play before the Mint produced it. The entire cast delivered a smashing show.

All of the actors were first-rate and the simplicity of the production was incredible. I shall certainly come back to the Mint if this is the kind of work they do.

The Mint is my most important discovery in the past year. I hope to attend your productions whenever I visit the city from now on.

K BA N K Y N A S H N AT I KOT I M O J r RR c to SHE dire er

Mint Theater is becoming the gold standard, as they keep ratcheting up each production on every level. it was one of the loveliest evenings we’d all spent in the Theater.

istic n ag a rt ma al r e gen

The greatest assets of the Mint are the discoveries made: the plays and playwrights that a true theatergoer should know.

Keep up the great works of the past that we would have no idea of if it were not for the wonderful Mint Theater

DISCOVER WHY! APRIL 14TH THROUGH MAY 30TH

H N LY ! 0T O M AY 3 H 1 4T -

Tickets $35 each. To order, call (212) 315-0231 or visit www.minttheater.org

D E TA IL

Are you interested in joining a group of Mint friends for dinner before our readings for a brief introduction to the play and some lively conversation? Call Martha at (212) 315-0231 for more information.

JU

INS A M EN

O KO N R S L E KAIK

N D, O M , HAM USTED Y . B M D AS RICK H RKINS CTE E M R I O E T D , T H N , PA PAT T I P W N O O RR R M I XO N , RG A A A B O H M T ING C OT E N N I F E R C H R I S M RLES FLEM G S A : H J H AM RO N SC WIT S E T M E S S R M S T AW BY

APRIL

PROFESSOR BERNHARDI is considered by some to be Schnitzler’s most notable play. In it, he addresses the problem of anti-Semitism in Austria prior to the First World War. “Instead of preaching against it, Schnitzler, like a scientist, merely shows one case of its working itself out and lets us draw the moral conclusions. Yes, says Schnitzler, that is how men are. A brilliant Jewish doctor at the head of a hospital in Vienna is going to make enemies, who are going to fight with all the hypocrisy at their command until he is deposed. Professor Bernhardi, in daring to keep a priest from giving a patient the last sacraments, has taken on a foe that will destroy him.” (excerpted from the 1968 Times review of Vienna’s Burgtheater production at City Center).

E S IN S ID .

t. 4 3 rd S 3 1 1 W. o r 3 rd F lo r k , N Y o N ew Y 10036

Monday May 24, 7:30

GUS

A SH TU COS ILLIAM D JANE UETTE T S W S O U N H G AO H G I L RA EBO D ES E RT I N AG E R P O PR MA GE LER A T S ENG . SP M ISSA GER MEL MANA RD GE S TA H AY WA RT T S E AS DREA IMB KI O N S N A T E FA ZO ROW T I V E S TA ION AC R AT T E R K P R E S E N C I AT E S D, T S I L LU S H U N S S R E A S S O WA R O T PRE TEN & PHIC RT H H A R D A S U GRA R L E U ST G ID G & PA DAV C A S T I N E C T E R H Y SC M A

New York, NY Permit No. 7528

pa i d

non-profit u . s . postage


“Before the discovery of antibiotics and most of our modern-day medicines,

Romains wrote a play that was a telling portrait of America’s future .”

E n r i c h M I N T Eve nt s

— Melody Petersen, Our Daily Meds 2008

Saturday, April 17th after the matinee

“A spare, lean play of considerable complexity and topicality.”

H

Jules Romains:

— Michael Billington, the Guardian 1979

ealth care reform of a darkly comic kind drives Dr. Knock, Or The Triumph Of Medicine, Jules Romains’ prescient 1923 comedy. “It is perhaps an appropriately ironic tribute to 20th Century medical advances that Jules Romains’ biting satire, Dr. Knock, has managed to keep all its teeth and remained fit and healthy,” writes Time Out London in 1994, “By leveling his sights on such a mercurial, swiftly moving target, Romains has virtually ensured perpetual topicality for his stylish, sparkling work.” “Satire and fun are exquisitely mingled” 1 as Dr. Knock purchases a moribund practice in sleepy Saint-Maurice and proceeds to rouse the populace to all the advantages that modern medicine has to offer. In the process “he transforms an entire district of unhappily healthy citizens into a flourishing community of happy invalids.” 2 “The real joke is that Dr. Knock is motivated not by greed or gain but by a perverted idealism,” observed the Guardian’s

JULES ROMAINS (1885-1972)

Romains ranked among the most produced playwrights in the world during the 1930’s, alongside Shaw and Pirandello. His most famous work, the 27 volume novel Men of Good Will, is comparable to the works of Zola and Proust in scale and ambition. Romains believed it was the duty of the twentieth century writer “to discover beneath the appearances of the modern world a spiritual reality more profound than he ever before has tried to find.” Romains began his writing career as a poet, publishing his first volume of poems, La vie unanime, in 1908. They outlined his new philosophy of Unanimism, which he developed while wandering the streets of Paris. In Unanimism, Romains envisioned “the interconnectedness of all people, that groups possess a sort of collective soul, generated by disparate individuals who make up the group,” according to biographer Susan McCready. Unanimism influenced a generation of avantgarde thinkers and artists. The precepts of Unanimism also inspired Romains’ own work in other genres, namely plays and novels; he was particularly fascinated by conflicts between group and individuals. In his first play, the verse drama L’Armée dans la ville, a town resists invasion through collective effort. Jean Musse (1930), an eerie predictor of World War II, examines the struggle between an earnest everyman and a fascist government. Donogoo (1931) shows a group of wily investors hoodwinking

An Introduction

Michael Billington.

Jeanine Parisier Plottel is Professor Emeritus at Hunter College & The Graduate Center, CUNY, and former chair of the Hunter Department of Romance Languages, as well as 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.

Dr. Knock, though almost unknown in America, has a long and distinguished history. It premiered in Paris in 1923, running for an unprecedented five years. It made playwright Jules Romains a household name and actor Louis Jouvet a star. Indeed, Jouvet would play Dr. Knock almost to the day he died. He revived Dr. Knock frequently, calling it his “magic play.” Dr. Knock literally saved Jouvet from bankruptcy. He would go on to star in three film versions of the play, his last in 1951, shortly before his death.

She presently 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.

By the time Dr. Knock premiered, Romains had already achieved acclaim as both poet and playwright, but Knock was his dramatic pièce de resistance. After its phenomenal first run, the play became a staple of the French and European repertoire. Regular revivals appeared through the 1960’s. Harley Granville-Barker’s English version was published in 1925; a London production followed one year later and New York in 1928. Knock transcended the era’s media, conquering stage, screen and television. The BBC filmed an English version of Dr. Knock for television in 1938 and again in 1968

the public into a Ponzi scheme surrounding an imaginary city called Donogoo—then everyone is trumped when the imaginary city becomes real. During World War II, Romains and his wife fled France. The Gestapo ransacked their apartment, destroying many of their personal papers. Romains traveled throughout the United States and Mexico, teaching at various universities. From 1936 to 1939, Romains served as President of PEN, the international writers’ association. In 1946, Romains was elected to the Académie Française, the pre-eminent body governing the French language. He moved back to France, living out the remainder of his life as a respected man of letters. Though Romains achieved great acclaim across various genres, toward the end of his life he remarked, “It is a source of great regret to me that no one has ever valued my poetry higher.” He died in Paris at the age of 86.

To this day, French schoolchildren still read Dr. Knock. Medical students mount amateur productions. The term knockisme has entered the language to describe gullibility. In England, Dr. Knock was revived successfully at London’s Orange Tree Theatre in 1979 and 1994. Now, for the first time in 72 years, the Mint offers New York audiences a chance to see this neglected French masterpiece. “The mystery is why it should have been so ignored,” wondered the Spectator’s Sheridan Morley at the 1994 London revival, while the Guardian’s Lyn Gardner called Dr. Knock “a real parable for our times.” Come see this darkly funny, surprising take on health care reform—it’s just what the doctor ordered. (Endnotes) 1 The Times (London), 1928 2 The Times (London), 1994

C a l l o r v i s i t u s o n l i n e to o rd e r :

Wednesday April 21st after the performance Sunday, April 18th after the matinee

Dr Knock context:

a discussion of theater in France Professor Judith Graves Miller is the 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. Her talk will focus on theater in France when Knock was first written and produced.

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$ 4 5 tickets for performances

April 14th through April 25 only! (Tickets $55 April 27th through May 20th)

performances Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday at 7pm Friday & Saturday at 8pm, Saturday & Sunday at 2pm (Special Wednesday Matinee April 14th at 2pm)

25 UNDER 25:

in

anyone under 25 can order $25 tickets in advance -- over the phone, online or in person! (limit one ticket per id, needed for ticket pickup)

Romains Knock :

and

Wednesday April 21st after the performance

Dr. Romains Knock:

and

Dr.

European Theater in the 1920’s

European Theater in the 1920’s

Tom Bishop is the Florence Gould Professor of French Literature, NYU and Director of NYU’s Center for French Civilization and Culture. His 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. 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.

Tom Bishop is the Florence Gould Professor of French Literature, NYU and Director of NYU’s Center for French Civilization and Culture. His 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. 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.

w w w. m i nt t h e ate r. o rg how to purchase tickets box office:

12-6 Monday thru Friday, 10am-6 Saturday, 11am-3 Sunday by mail or in person: 311 West 43rd Street, #307, NY 10036 by phone: (212) 315-0231 ($2.50 service charge applies)

by fax:

(212) 977-5211 online: minttheater.org

All tickets are held at the Box Office. No Late Seating! All sales are final. No refunds.

Doctor Knock Flyer  

Flyer for our spring production, Doctor Knock, Or the Triumph of Medicine

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