Eye of God



Seattle Repertory Theatre


WRITTEN BY: Tim Blake Nelson

DIRECTED BY: Douglas Hughes


“REMARKABLE. An impassioned, unsparing investigation of a sadly familiar American tragedy. This Seattle Repertory production marks Nelson’s professional playwriting debut. You would never guess that, though, from the emotional depth, colloquial assurance, and formal complexity of this play, or from Nelson’s courage in addressing some boldly profound questions rarely raised in today’s theater.” —Seattle Times.


In a small Oklahoma town, an innocent girl, Ainsley, marries a just-released convict with whom she’s corresponded for three years. Jack’s never told her why he went to jail, and with his newfound religion he says it doesn’t matter: Providence has seen to it that he would marry a good woman and raise a family. The clues are all there for Ainsley, but she’s never been in love before…so when Jack has to wear an electronic surveillance device, she doesn’t question it. It’s just after Jack’s parole officer stops by and tells Ainsley, in Jack’s absence, that Jack went to prison for beating a girl and killing her unborn child, that Ainsley realizes she’s pregnant. Interwoven with the above plot is a future storyline: A young girl has been found dead in a nearby lake, her belly slit open and her eyes gouged out. A fourteen-year-old named Tom witnessed the murder and has become mute because of it. Or, did he do it? Eventually he hangs himself. The police investigate the murder and feel sure the murderer was Jack, but when interrogated by the police, he denies he’s done anything wrong. Finally giving up trying to believe in God and Jack, Ainsley goes to Oklahoma City for an abortion. After the procedure, she runs into the young boy, Tom. Feeling lonely and hopeless, she asks Tom to drive her to the lake where she was conceived and born. He does, and we see them share a tender moment of intimacy: Ainsley takes out her glass eye and lets Tom put it back in for her. Behind the clearing we see Jack, waiting for her, clearly aware that she’s just aborted their child.