Knock! Knock! Who’s There!?

From behind a boarded up door, a voice and persistent knocking sound draws the attention of passersby.

In volume three of The Collected Plays of Edward Albee, the playwright provides the following instructions:

People should come upon this play by accident. They should be walking somewhere in the theatre – in a hallway, from the restrooms, a remote part of the lobby, etc. They will probably begin to hear it before they “see” it. What we need for the set is (and this can be real or fake, depending upon circumstance) a boarded-up doorway. I mean the doorway should look real (should have a knob, etc.) and should be framed as a normal doorway is. The boarding-up I speak of should clearly be a hasty and imperfect one – a couple of 2×4’s nailed across it, whatever. It is important that the sound come from behind the door. It should be a little muffled but quite intelligible. The words, as opposed to the knock-knocks, are recorded, of course, and come from a speaker behind the door, I would imagine. The knock-knocks are sounds, and they should come from behind the door, too. Nobody says “knock-knock”; they are sounds. How this is coordinated with the dialogue is not my problem but we, the audience, standing in front of the door, should sense the thumping from within. Ideally, if we were to touch the door, we would feel the thumping, as well. The comment “repeat endlessly” means exactly that. The entire play should be performed over and over again whenever the theatre is accessible to the patrons.

Albee, Edward. The Collected Plays of Edward Albee. Vol. 3. New York: Overlook Duckworth, 2005. 8.

Type: Short Play

Acts: One

First Performance: 25 October 2003, McCarter Theatre Center, New Jersey

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