Institute History

  • 1999 Theatre Lab


ISAAC is a re-telling of the tale from Genesis with a small cast of characters—Abraham, his wife Sarah, his son Isaac, God and Satan; all of the characters take the role of Satan at some point in the proceedings. The play speaks to a deep and insoluble question about the nature of faith, our relation to God, the father, and to our fathers, and to our sons. The play also asks unanswerable and essential questions about our ability to know the difference between good and evil. These thematic strands can only come through when the mechanics of the story telling have been addressed.

Our goals at Sundance include—that the dramatic action is clear, that each of the characters proceeds from point A to point Z—that the things at stake for these characters are specific and (insofar as we can ever fully know God or Satan!) comprehensible, that the play is as economical as it can be without sacrificing any of the poetry or depth of feeling or necessary thematic ambiguity.

Past that, we would like to use the time to play with possible means for meeting the physical requirements of the play, most importantly the characters’ transformations into Satan and God, some visually arresting and simple ways to handle the long walking sections in the play, the murder, the sequence with Isaac and the lamb, the building of the altar, etc. But if nothing is achieved other than a clarifying and tightening of the drama, we will be very happy indeed.
—David Schulner and Craig Lucas

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