blackbird Spring 2008  Vol. 7  No. 1


Levis Found Portraits
John Ravenal
David Roby

DAVID ROBY  |  Arts and Science


Winner of a 2006 Jean Kennedy Smith Playwriting Award, David Roby’s Arts and Science was performed in December 2005, by the Theatre of Ted and Studio 222.

Of the play and his process, Roby writes:

Most of my plays have something to do with the human body—the potentials of it, the restrictions of it, the beauty of it, the ugliness of it, our obsession with it.

I wanted to create a character who was totally consumed with the idea of attaining a perfect body. And to combat my own ideas of stereotype, I wanted to make this character male. While researching this play, I quickly realized that only the most extreme characters could enter Dammond’s world and challenge his beliefs. At this point of revelation, the play began actually to be fun to write.

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The characters Dammond, Amelia, and Miss Justesen are all based on individuals I personally know, but the characters of Naaktgeboren and Dana Gray were purely invented to heighten Dammond’s struggle.

During the research of the play, I visited Yale University’s Embryo Collection and read countless texts on embryology and medical terminology.

After completing the play, these themes continued to live with me, and as a result, the trilogy Art, Science, and God was born. These plays include Arts and Science (Dammond as a young adult), Sciences and God (Dammond as a child), and Gods and Art (Dammond as an elderly man).  bug

   Characters and Setting  |  Act One  |  Act Two

   Contributor’s notes