Science Festival Interview with Carmen Marcon
Carmen Marcon is the director of Isaac’s Eye, a contemporary play on the life of a young Isaac Newton and his transformation into a great scientific thinker.
What can the audience at Isaac’s Eye expect to experience?
They can expect an out-of-body experience where egos, wit and intelligence collide. While the plot is very much set in a 17th century mentality, the dialogue is uprooted to a contemporary time, leaving people to question where they are and what exactly they’re watching.
What do you hope that the audience will take away from seeing the performance?
I hope that the audience will get an understanding of or relate to the type of commitment it takes to become successful in a closing field. But Isaac’s Eye is a trick in of itself; not all stories are what they originally seem to be.
Why do you think this play is timely; why is now the right time to be considering Newton’s significance?
Being in the 21st century, now more than ever there are chances to innovate in fields both scientific and artistic but there are still these same obstacles that are brought up in Isaac’s Eye.
At its most basic level, Isaac’s Eye talks about the sacrifices and choices being made by people everywhere to become successful in their chosen fields – something that does not go away with time.
These continuous new innovations are built from the discoveries of people like Newton and Isaac’s Eye allows us to think about the significance of people’s experiences and lives affecting others’ motivations.
Without giving too much away, what might surprise people about the story?
I don’t think anyone will be expecting what will play out on stage; it’s much different from anything expected in a story of Isaac Newton. The depth and quality of the characters open the story to growth and allows the audience an opportunity to sit down and be invested in what happens.
What are the most challenging aspects of converting Newton’s life story into a stage production?
Lucas Hnath has written the script in such a way where the line between the reality of these historical characters and their fictional interpretations are blurred.
There is a lot of rumour and mystery around these figures so there has been a lot of back and forth between myself, my team, and my cast as to what areas we want to focus on; making our interpretations of these historical figures accurate in terms of what is known about them and in terms of what Lucas Hnath has added to flush out his story.
It has been a fun challenge to decide what choices to make and what foundations these characters should be built from.
Why did you choose to bring the production to the Edinburgh International Science Festival?
The Carol Tambor Theatrical Foundation and the University of Edinburgh came together with Lucas Hnath’s Isaac’s Eye and thought of the Edinburgh University Theatre Company and Bedlam Theatre to put on this production with the Edinburgh International Science Festival.
After reading it once, with the characters and the story, I knew I wanted to put it on. I’m lucky that I’ve gathered such a good cast and crew to do it with me. With a cast of only four, I’ve been able to get to know them and their characters quite well and create a piece of theatre that we’re all quite proud of and excited to share with everyone.
The production is presented by Bedlam Theatre and the Edinburgh University Theatre Company in collaboration with the Carol Tambor Theatrical Foundation and the University of Edinburgh.
Isaac's Eye runs 7-15 April (not Monday 10 April), 7:30pm at Bedlam Theatre.