Originally broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 2010
It’s a dark night in Greenwich Village, New York. In Edward Hopper’s 1942 painting Nighthawks, a couple, a solitary customer and the bartender seem adrift in the darkness around them.
Adam Gopnik, writer on the New Yorker, walks the streets in search of the location and the mood, wondering whether Hopper was ‘painting the loneliness’ he claimed, while Barbara Haskell, curator of a forthcoming Hopper exhibition, offers other interpretations.
Hopper called his paintings ‘silent theater’, but we take the liberty of dramatising fleeting thoughts of the four characters. What is going on in their minds in Hopper’s diner late at night?
We are free to speculate on the countless possibilities with the help of playwright Dean Olsher and three actors: Michael Dowling, Sara Paul, and Jim Frangione.
Produced by Judith Kampfner & Ladbroke Productions (Radio) Ltd for BBC Radio 4
N.B. Some audio has been edited from the original broadcast version due to copyright restrictions