GOSHEN — Roughly 5 a long time ago, Laurie Nathan and Bo Petersen returned to their native Cape City, South Africa.

Amid the mountain vary, no electric power. No cellphone reception. Handwritten notes.

It was a two-7 days artistic sabbatical, a time for the South Bend-based pair to generate. Nathan, an academic, mediator and playwright, and Petersen, an actor and director, commenced crafting “Lot’s Spouse,” the retelling of an aged tale with a new perspective.

The enjoy will debut at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Artwork Residence in Goshen, with a Saturday night generation and a Sunday matinee. Performances will be adopted by a talkback session with the forged, writer, director and community customers.

For Nathan, seeds of the enjoy have been sown some 20-odd decades in the past adhering to the beginning of the couple’s to start with little one.

“It evoked a sense of awe of everyday living that I hadn’t genuinely skilled before and a sense of obligation as a father,” Nathan mentioned put up-rehearsal last week, sitting down near the pulpit of St. Peter’s United Church of Christ in South Bend.

“And I started off to speculate as I performed the part of guardian, where by I was imagining falsely that I was God. And that bought me considering about the strategy of creating a perform about God and the decline of God’s son.”

The production — offered as a radical feminist just take on the Old Testament tale — stars Laurisa LeSure in the title job, alongside Joe Russo as God, Jude Ash as the archangel Gabriel and Angel Reyes as the Israeli Minister of Defense.

“I imagine, in the end, it’s a feminist piece,” Petersen described. “I feel if you really don’t know something about Lot’s wife, it’s not a trouble. The piece is truly about seeking at poisonous masculinity and how girls, through the ages, have been the victims of it and taking over.”

“Lot’s Wife” director Bo Petersen gives notes to actors all through rehearsal Friday evening at her South Bend house.

“Lot’s Wife” is the initially writer-director partnership for the few, a tale commencing with Israeli invasion of Gaza, spanning back again to Abraham’s knife at his son’s throat and shifting “forward to the remarkable triumph of Lot’s spouse and the sisters above the male deity and mortals that confined them to the fields, the kitchen area and the bed room,” the participate in assertion reads.

“It’s confirmed to be a amazing collaboration. We have not had 1 battle,” Nathan said. “Bo’s been pretty tough in stripping words and phrases when I’m way too verbose and I want to hang on to my gorgeous text, and she claims it is much too much. I typically bow to her judgement.

“… I assume there are plenty of distinctive acts of creativeness and manufacturing in a participate in. The very first act of creativity is the playwright. The 2nd is the director, together with their actors. The third is the viewers, and fourth, the critics. I consider they really should all keep absent from every single other as different. So my sense is, after I’ve completed crafting the participate in, I’m handing it about to the director, whether or not my wife or not. And then it’s the director’s act of creative imagination. “

For theatergoers, Nathan, a professor of mediation at the College of Notre Dame, gives a warning — there is profanity and articles which might be incongruent with some conservative Christian sights.

“Because I’m an atheist, there is no non secular tension or problem,” Nathan explained. “At the same time, I really do not want to offend persons who are deeply religious. My intention is to inform a gripping story that moves the viewers.”

Nathan’s tale is carried by psychological peaks, power struggles, throttled dialogue and heightened reveals, propelled by the exchanges between Lot’s spouse and God. For the duration of rehearsal, LeSure and Russo’s voices had been lofted superior into the church rafters, to be customized this 7 days to the approximately 50-seat black box theater at Artwork Home.

“The operate is so — it’s just an fascinating piece,” Russo mentioned. “It’s so considered-provoking, the way it appears to be like at, like, Judeo-Christianity and its affect on patriarchy and how those people two factors are just undeniably, totally intertwined. Which is what I identified definitely powerful about the piece. I went to Catholic school but I’ve hardly ever been religious, so I by now had a ton of thoughts about religion, about Judeo-Christianity, and this has proven a various gentle on it, which I wasn’t expecting.”

'Lot's Wife' 2

From still left, Angel Reyes, Jude Ash and Joe Russo rehearses “Lot’s Wife” Saturday at St. Peter’s United Church of Christ in South Bend. The enjoy debuts at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Artwork Household in Goshen.

Mostly a comedic, musical actor, Russo was at first solid in the position of the protection minister. A last-moment casting alter put him in the co-starring purpose.

“It was a massive challenge due to the fact I have fairly a great deal experienced this purpose for two months now,” he mentioned. “A good deal of line mastering, but a lot more exclusively, placing myself in a position that has a great deal of gravity and weight to it, a position that is a character that we understand to be older than myself at 27. A lot of different troubles coming alongside with that.”

Born into religion and a training Christian, actor and educator LeSure heads the drama method at St. Matthew Cathedral College and qualified prospects various other area youth theater teams.

“When you expand up and study the Bible out of Bible university and as an adult, I quite substantially go through it as a lady. It was kinda amazing going back by means of with a woman’s point of view on issues,” LeSure said.

“… As actors, we frequently strive to be equipped to link with our characters as significantly as probable. We need to have to be able to consider the phrases that are coming out of our mouths, protect the phrases that are coming out of our mouths, and I consider I can pretty a lot do with this character. As a female, as a Christian, it’s fascinating. And at the very same time, it is quickly the most highly effective and pretty I have felt onstage in my complete daily life.”

A stage examining of the perform earlier this 12 months at South Bend Civic Theatre yielded some walk-outs, attendees who may possibly have anticipated a recap of the regular plot.

Speaking about his belief of art’s objective, Nathan set basically his innovative inspiration.

“The aim,” he stated, “is to either transfer your viewers emotionally, provoke them intellectually — or both equally.”