The Serpent: Examination, Exploration, Evaluation, 1976

Date of Graduation

Fall 1976


Master of Arts


Theatre and Dance

Committee Chair

Robert Bradley


The Serpent is a unique production as it is predominately an ensemble endeavor. The original creation of the play evolved through a company of actors called the Open Theatre under the direction of Joseph Chaikin. Jean-Claude van Itallie is responsible for the final verbal framework. This text was written after lengthy involvement with van Itallie's Open Theatre and the improvisations and exercises they geared to Genesis from the Bible. Together, playwright, director and company explored images, motifs and themes to be expressed in this living theatre experience. The Serpent is called a ceremony primarily because of its strong bond with the audience. In a ceremony, the audience and actor combine in a collaborative effort toward communication. This production, therefore, became not only an experimental enterprise for the thesis director, but also for the community of actors and audience.

Subject Categories

Theatre and Performance Studies


© Christine E. Stoyke


Open Access