Blast into Outer Space with THE ABSENTEE at Know

KTC_AbsenteePosterTHE ABSENTEE By Julia Doolittle
September 13th – October 5th
In space no one can hear you scream… except your A.I.

Far out in the Milky Way, “Beacons” serve as lighthouses for warping ships around the galaxy. When a U.S. Space Force ship explodes near Beacon 44.AR.90, its Operator finds herself alone in deep space with only her ship’s A.I. for companionship. That is, until a persistent canvasser calls, desperate to convince her to vote absentee in the 2088 election.

A semi-finalist for the Relentless award, and winner of the 2019-2020 Woodward/Newman Drama Award.

A deeply moving space tale about queer love, finding the hope to overcome grief, and intergalactic absentee voting, The Absentee by Julia Doolittle hits the MainStage starting September 13 at the Know.

Directed by guest director Kate Bergstrom , The Absentee challenges traditional notions of love, lays bare the effects of isolationism, and reminds us of the duty we owe one another.

The Operator, who can’t share her full name due to space force code, has fled earth, her girlfriend, and her troubles, in pursuit of a shut-off life in the stars. But she isn’t fully cut off ⁠— she prides herself on being able to know all of the regular ships and pilots who charter through her section.

When an explosion causes her sector to become an isolation zone, her only contact becomes her computer, Beacon ⁠— and a man who keeps calling her about absentee voting from space. Her desire to keep hiding from her past is strong, but when a disaster puts her whole station in jeopardy, she is forced to face her grief and civic duty head-on.

Our second MainStage show of the season is propelled by the creative force of two amazing women: Julia Doolittle (Playwright) and Kate Bergstrom (Director).

Julia Doolittle is an up-and-coming but already highly accomplished playwright. Take a look at just some of her accolades:

Julia’s work has been seen at South Coast Repertory, Portland Stage, Victory Gardens Theatre, the Sam French Off-Off Broadway Festival, The Tank, Tiny Rhino, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Urban Stages, and Rogue Machine Theatre. She is a recipient of the Elizabeth George Commission from South Coast Rep, a semi-finalist for the O’Neill Summer Conference, and a finalist for the 2017 Heideman Award at the Human Festival. This past winter her play, “Tell Them I’m Still Young,” was featured at the American Theater Group and starred Andre Braugher , of ,“Brookly Nine-Nine,” fame. She is a proud member of EST’s Youngblood Playwrights group.

Kate Bergstrom , based in both LA and New York, brings plenty of heavy-hitting experience to the team, as well:

Holding an MFA in Directing from Brown/Trinity Rep, Kate’s eclectic work has been seen in NYC + LA at Ars Nova, REDCAT, La Mama Umbria, UCLAlive!, Highways Performance Space, Granoff Center for the Arts, Rattlestick Theatre, Theatre at Monmouth, LACMA, LATC, Brown/Trinity Rep + She’s developed work everywhere from Curious Theatre Company (Denver) to Ojai Playwrights Conference. Central Coast’s 2016 Person to Watch + 2017 Best Director. Founding Artistic Director of On The Verge Summer Repertory Company in Santa Barbara & Explosions From the Other Canon @ Brown. She was most recently seen directing, “Enchanted April,” by Matthew Barber (July 17-August 16, Theatre at Monmouth).

In addition to this powerhouse playwright and director team, The Absentee features a stellar cast fit for the stars!

Starring as Operator, the ever amazing local favorite Jordan Trovillion blasts off, back onto the Know stage. Audiences who loved her action-packed turn as Denn in Susan Swayne and the Hunter in Neverwhere, her whimsical take on Ariadne in Heavier Than… and the laugh out loud Ken Ham’s Journey to the Center of the Earth will not want to miss this!

Hannah Jones and Amber Janice Balwin return to our orbit as Lieutenant Zala ( Jones ) and Beacon ( Baldwin ), after their appearance in this summer’s Cincinnati Fringe Festival Producers’ Pick of the Fringe winner Decent, a Murder Ballad.

THE ABSENTEE also welcomes back longtime friend Nathan Tubbs, taking to the stars as Glenn. Audiences will remember Nathan taking flight as Icarus in Heavier Than … , his bewildered take as Henchmen in Susan Swayne, or one of his many Serials! performances.

When you’re tempted to run away from a world that seems like it’s burning down, sometimes choosing hope is the hardest fight of all.

Buckle up and blast off to THE ABSENTEE, running September 13th – October 5th, only at Your Theatrical Playground.

Cast in Alphabetical Order

  • Jordan Trovillion – Operator
  • Amber Janice Baldwin – Beacon
  • Hannah Jones Diaz – Lieutenant Zala
  • Nathan Tubbs – Glenn

Production Team

  • Director: Kate Bergstrom
  • Scenic & Lighting Designer: Andrew Hungerford
  • Costume Designer: Noelle Wedig-Johnston
  • Sound Designer: Douglas Borntrager
  • Props Designer: Kayla Williams
  • Stage Manager: Meghan Winter
  • Technical Director: Jim Stark

Calendar Listing

THE ABSENTEE by Julia Doolittle
8pm Sept. 13th-15th, 18th-22nd, 25th-29th; Oct. 2nd-5th
3pm Sept. 15th, 22nd, 29th

Know Theatre of Cincinnati. 1120 Jackson Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202.
In historic Over-the-Rhine.


  • $25 regular price tickets
  • $35 “Living Wage” tickets, supporting working artists in Cincinnati
  • $15 Rush tickets at the door 10 minutes prior to curtain (when available)
  • FREE walk-up tickets are available on Wednesdays , as part of Know’s
    Welcome Experiment.Advance reservations to Welcome Experiment performances are $10.

Tickets can be purchased by visiting or calling 513.300.5669

Know Theatre is Cincinnati’s Theatrical Playground. The Know showcases unexpected voices, new works, and plays that embrace the inherent theatricality of the live experience. Know Theatre seeks to be a place where artists and audiences feel welcome to take artistic risks, creating work that is cutting edge and accessible.

Know Theatre’s work is made possible, in part, by the generosity of community contributions to the ArtsWave Campaign.

The Ohio Arts Council helps fund Know Theatre with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence, and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans.

Know Theatre is also supported by The Carol Ann & Ralph V. Haile, Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation , helping to change our communities for the better through collaboration and innovation, and the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, which provides a simple, powerful, and highly personal approach to giving.

Know Theatre is a member of Theatre Communications Group and an Associate Member of the National New Play Network.

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