Isaac's Eye by Lucas Hnath

Ensemble Studio Theatre & The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation present

Isaac's Eye by Lucas Hnath*

Directed by Linsay Firman*

January 30 - March 10, 2013

"A  quirky sendup of fusty historical dramas... funky, stylized, but distinctly contemporary. Isaac's Eye wins a whole mess of points for originality." - The New York Times

"A brilliant new play." - nytheatre.com

One experiment young Isaac Newton tried boggles the mind. To understand light and optics better, Newton inserted a long needle “between my eye and the bone, as near to the backside of my eye as I could.” Why take such a risk? Lucas Hnath’s brilliant new play, Isaac’s Eye, reimagines the contentious, plague-ravaged world Newton inhabited as it explores the dreams and longings that drove the rural farm boy to become one of the greatest thinkers in modern science.

Featuring Jeff Biehl+, Kristen Bush*+, Haskell King*+ & Michael Louis Serafin-Wells*+



"A  quirky sendup of fusty historical dramas... funky, stylized, but distinctly contemporary. Isaac's Eye wins a whole mess of points for originality." - The New York Times

"A thoroughly engaging, thought-provoking, and often very funny exchange of ideas between two titans of science. While some may quibble when playwrights take artistic liberties with the lives of famous scientists or other historical figues, it works when the playgoer comes away with an appreciation not just of the scientist in his time, but the scientist in his mind. Consider the case made for this engaging and thought-provoking look into the mind (and through the eye) of Isaac Newton." - The Scientist

"When you imagine the exploits of the young Isaac Newton, cartoon graphics of falling apples and a fortuitous knock on the noggin might come to mind. But Lucas Hnath’s eloquent Isaac’s Eye—now playing, in a sensitive production by Linsay Firman, strips away the Newtonian clichés to present a plainspoken fable about the loneliness of genius and the transforming power of the scientific gaze. - The Village Voice

"I strongly recommend Isaac's Eye, clearly Hnath is a talent to watch. The four-person cast and director Linsay Firman were perfectly in sync with his skill, which is exactly what happens when good actors combine with good writing." - Huffington Post

"[Lucas] Hnath’s script and director Linsay Firman’s excellent production mesh in these delightful Brechtianisms: Biehl introduces “white-haired” Newton while King sulks nearby under his ink-black mop top; the titular 17th-century wunderkind talks like a modern-day teen. “Am I up shit creek?” he asks Robert Hooke (deliciously sly Michael Louis Serafin-Wells), the older scientist he hopes will get him into the Royal Society. Springboarding from true tidbits—Hooke kept an ejaculation diary, Newton may have had Asperger’s—the talented Hnath creates a disorienting, ironic atmosphere, a kind of Rushmore plus calculus." - Time Out New York

"In this brilliant new play which is very aware of its own fictionality, we get some ideas about a pivotal time in Newton's life and spend some hair-raising time with the famous needle. Haskell King plays the self-absorbed young man very well. Kristen Bush completely nails the role of the powerful young woman druggist. Michael Louis Serafin-Wells is wonderful as the succesful older man who, like many, had a penchant for opium and being in love with his own niece.  Jeff Biehl remains calm throughout; an amazing feat which brings us back to reality." - nytheatre.com


Insider Interview with Isaac's Eye playwright Lucas Hnath & director Linsay Firman.