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New Parents’ Worries Exposed in Know’s “In The Night Time (Before The Sun Rises)”


Review by Christiana Molldrem Harkulich Of “In the Night Time”: Know Theatre

Nina Segal’s “In The Night Time (Before The Sun Rises)” at Know Theatre is a timely and dark story at the intersection of exhausted new parenthood and global climate precariousness and war. As the Woman and the Man keep reminding us, these disparate events that happen all over the world are not connected—except when they are. Over the course of an hour on the Know stage, “In the Night Time shows a woman and a man—in the throes of new parent exhaustion and an endlessly crying baby—telling stories to soothe as they expose their worry about the future. 

“In the Night Time” is an intimate performance written in a poetic third person voice. The writing reminds me of a mix between the narrative theatre of Mary Zimmerman’s “The Metamorphosis” or the metatheatrical writing in Itamar Moses’s “Authorial Intent”. Elizabeth Chinn Molloy as Woman and Brandon Burton as Man have a believable connection and great chemistry. The play seems to happens in someplace in the near future, but also out of time. In the course of the play we learn through stories, addressed directly to the audience, about the Man and the Woman’s relationship and the worries they have for their new child and the realities of the world collapsing around them. Their world onstage is filled with the debris of a post-apocalyptic or war-torn world, it reminded me of pictures of apartment buildings in Syria after the bombings. While the play is in English, the events could happen anywhere in the world since the realities of new parenthood and crying babies are universal. 

Brant Russell directs the play with a lighter tone (verging towards children’s theatre) which is in direct opposition to the apocalyptic design choices of Scenic and lighting Designer Andrew Hungerford and Costume Designer Noelle Widig-Johnston. The tone and the aesthetic come together at the end of the play—melding primarily through the excellent sound design by Doug Borntrager. The child’s endless screaming reminds us that while global problems are overwhelming, the immediate local problem must be dealt with first. 

For a childless 30-something married professional, this play reminded me a lot of conversations I’ve had with friends about whether or not to have children (and NPR articles: https://www.npr.org/2016/08/18/479349760/should-we-be-having-kids-in-the-age-of-climate-change ). It sends home the message how much we are connected and what the stakes of the future are. “In The Night Time (Before The Sun Rises)” plays through February 8th at the Know Theatre of Cincinnati– tickets available here: (https://knowtheatre.com/season-22/nighttime/).