The Good Book
The Court Theatre; Denis O’Hare, actor, and Lisa Peterson, director, together award-winning playwrights; and Margaret Mitchell (University of Chicago, Divinity School), collaborate on and around the development of The Good Book, a theatrical exploration of the Bible.
In 2011, Court Theatre produced Denis O'Hare and Lisa Peterson's stage adaptation, An Iliad(the production returned to the Court Theatre stage in 2013). Following the extraordinary experience of that production, Artistic Director Charles Newell approached O'Hare and Peterson about conceiving a subsequent project. O'Hare and Peterson proposed The Good Book, a theatrical treatment of the Bible, which the Court commissioned in 2012. The play seeks to explore the Bible’s authorship, its material evolution, and its appropriation of mythology and religion from other cultures and belief systems. It will not only dramatize key historical moments in the creation of the Bible but interrogate, through a collection of modern characters, the claims to authority that have accrued to the Bible, especially in the United States over the last two hundred years.
In April 2012, Court Theatre and the Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry introduced O’Hare and Peterson to Margaret Mitchell, scholar of New Testament and early Christian writings. The original aspirations of that meeting were relatively modest: to enable a conversation between two accomplished playwrights and a scholarly expert. Over the course of the past two years, the ongoing conversations between Mitchell, O’Hare, and Peterson have outgrown those modest expectations. After two weeks of intensive exchanges between the trio in Chicago in 2012, the conversations between Mitchell and the playwrights have evolved from an informational interview into an engaging and productive series of intellectual encounters around questions of biblical interpretation and the discipline of theology.
The Mellon Fellowship for Arts Practice & Scholarship affords the Court Theatre, Dean Mitchell, Lisa Peterson and Denis O'Hare the opportunity to pursue an ongoing project that experiments with collaborative models of dramaturgy, pedagogy, and scholarship around the development of The Good Book.