When We Dead Awaken– a play about isolation for isolating times


Photo credit/ Carter Cerretani

Angela Klawitter and Sean Wolfe during an intense scene.

Marywood’s Music, Theatre and Dance production for the Fall semester is Henrik Ibsen’s When We Dead Awaken. The story follows Arnold Rubek, a famous sculptor during the late 19th century, meeting a former model and old flame of his, Irene von Satow. He tries to rekindle their relationship, but Irene is convinced that the dead cannot come back to life.

Marywood’s Theatre Director Dr. Timothy Pyles chose this play exploring themes of isolation during the pandemic; a time where we were all forced into isolation.

“I felt like it has something to say about sort of our collective COVID experience, you know, especially earlier on in the pandemic,” said Pyles “There was a lot of social isolation, a lot of being cut off from people.”

Pyles believes that the overall message of the play ties into the feelings many people have had regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It reminds us to have hope, it reminds us that we’re not alone, and I think [it] helps us process things and deal with our emotions about the last 18 months,” said Pyles.

Senior theatre and education major Angela Klawitter plays Irene von Satow. She said that theatre itself, not just this play, can give hope to people during these trying times.

“Theatre has always been a mechanism of hope and feeling things in new, healthy ways we wouldn’t necessarily have been able to do, otherwise,” said Klawitter, ”Especially in this time in history, where there’s so much uncertainty, theatre is something consistent we can rely on, that we can learn from. It’s helping me, personally, in a very real way to cope and to manage.”

Pyles also added that in these times, When We Dead Awaken can carry an important lesson.

“This show in particular is so important because it helps us know that feeling that way is not unique to us, it’s something other human beings have experienced at different times and in different places, and it reminds us that there is joy even if you feel like it’s a long way off,” said Pyles.
Sean Wolfe, sophomore music performance major, plays Arnold Rubek in the play and agrees that theatre, for many, is an important part of culture, which is why Wolfe feels Marywood kept live theatre performances with precautions and restrictions last year, when COVID was at its peak.

“They found a way to make it work safely, and that was probably the best thing they could do,” said Wolfe.

The play will be performed in the Main Stage Theatre in the Sette LaVerghetta Center For Performing Arts from October 7-9.Marywood students, faculty, staff, and IHM sisters have access to free admission while the general public will need to pay $10. Tickets can be reserved at: https://marywood.universitytickets.com/w/

Contact the writer: [email protected]