Previews Begin Next Week for Ensemble Studio Theatre's ISAAC'S EYE
Previews begin next week for the Ensemble Studio Theatre/Alfred P. Sloan Project for New Plays on Science and Technology's world premiere of Isaac's Eye by Lucas Hnath, directed by Linsay Firman, the Ensemble Studio Theatre/Sloan Project Associate Director.
Isaac's Eye is the tale of an emotionally immature, 25-year-old Isaac Newton, his drive to become a fellow of The Royal Society and the great scientist Robert Hooke who, in Mr. Hnath's play, is the nemesis standing in his way. Isaac's Eye is brash, irreverent, often comical, and ultimately scrupulous in dissecting fact from fiction in search of what history may have been hiding all these years.
Mr. Hnath's play re-imagines the contentious, plague-ravaged world in which, the young Isaac Newton and the older Robert Hooke are a Mozart and Salieri, a Tesla and an Edison, who wrangle over the physics of white light and its separation by refraction. In the course of their dispute Newton risks blinding himself by conducting optical experiments on his own eyes to prove to Hooke that his theory is right and that he is worthy of admission to The Royal Society.
Far from a costume drama, Isaac's Eye is original in its presentation and contemporary in its tone. Mr. Hnath's play occupies its own time and space as it explores the dreams and longings that drove the rural farm boy Isaac Newton to become one of the greatest thinkers in modern science.
Haskell King plays Newton and Michael Louis Serafin-Wells plays the hot-headed, randy polymath Robert Hooke. Rounding out the cast are Kristen Bush and Jeff Biehl. Mr. King and Ms. Bush, who both appeared in the EST/Sloan Project's 2010 Photograph 51, are being reunited with director Firman who directed the Anna Ziegler play about Rosalind Franklin.
Mr. Hnath's Death Tax was one of the most talked-about productions at last spring's Humana Festival of New American Plays. Many of his other recent plays, both unproduced and produced, also take on contemporary or historical events and people: Unproduced Screenplay about the Death of Walt Disney, Red Speedo, Hillary and Clinton, Sake Tasting with a Séance to Follow, The Courtship of Anna Nicole Smith, Odile's Ordeal, Tonguetied, and Three Attempts at Corrective Eye Surgery. Mr. Hnath (left) has been a resident playwright at New Dramatists since 2011 and has had his plays produced at Actors Theatre of Louisville, University of Miami, The Culture Project, Target Margin and Ontological-Hysteric Theater. In addition to EST, his plays have been developed at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater and Cleveland Public Theatre.