Friday, Dec. 11, 2009

Insurgent Theatre Requests Demon Bargains

Theatre Company Looking for Scenes

By Russ Bickerstaff
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Insurgent Theatre co-founder Tracy Doyle sent out an email late yesterday morning requesting scenes for a show about deals with a devil. The "demon bargain" show will evidently be an “open source,” tapestry of such scenes. Those submitting scenes won’t own them. No one will. All authors whose scenes get accepted will get credit for them. That’s the bargain. Cute.

Those interested in being a part of the show should submit a scene to Tracy via email at:   insurgent.tracy@gmail.com

The deadline is February 2nd, 2010. (Groundhog’s Day.)

Any further questions can be addressed to Tracy via email.

The classic deal with the devil, of course, comes from ancient German legend. Dr. Faust had made a pact with the devil for earthly knowledge. He was, of course, damned. He had cast aside pious knowledge for something more earthly—more scientific. The idea that Faust could be damned, essentially for choosing medicine over theology seems a bit harsh to contemporary ears. The premise behind asking a dark entity for something in exchange for one’s immortal soul (or at least something far more valuable on a different level) is a fascinating one that’s been tossed around in stories for millenia. The concept of the Faustian bargain is one that predates Christianity.

One of my personal favorite stories involving demonic negotiations was Joe Haldeman’s short story I of Newton. A mathematician inadvertently summons a demon through an equation and must figure out a way to keep his soul by outwitting it. The story was adapted into a Twilight Zone episode in the mid-‘80’s. It was a remarkably clever bit of television that relied almost entirely on dialogue from beginning to end, giving it the dynamic of a stage play.

Of course, the premise isn’t limited to actual demons. An early episode of This American Life was dedicated to Faustian bargains, the most memorable being one made between schoolteacher LuAnne Johnson and the bureaucratically evil Disney corporation.

Insurgent’s open call for scenes could potentially result in a very wildly varied group of submissions, so it’ll be interesting to see what the resulting show will be like. There’s no word on when and where the show will be staged. With deadline for submissions a couple of months away, the project is still in its early stages.

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