BRUNO by Raymond van Over
Winner’s Presentation and Reading:
A reading of the winning new play and presentation of the $1000.00 Kaplan Prize
was held on Saturday, March 25 at 2:30
The winner of this year’s Kaplan Prize for the Eventide Theatre Company’s Playwrights Competition is “Bruno” by Sandwich resident Raymond van Over.
The play imagines the last week of Giordano Bruno’s life as he confronts the Roman Inquisition’s charges of heresy, his trial, and execution. Unlike Galileo, who lived at the same time, the historical Bruno’s conflict with the Church ended in tragedy; the institutional forces arrayed against him too great to overcome.
Bruno’s world was one of intense struggle between secular and ecclesiastic power, between science and faith; it was a world where extremism and ruthless religious ideology often resulted in savage public executions. There are significant parallels between Bruno and the better known historical figures of Thomas Becket and Thomas More. Both men of principle, like Bruno, found it impossible to bend to the unaccountable power of the establishment and were executed for their beliefs.
Bruno’s life stands as a symbol of individual conscience and resistance to zealotry. His intuitive vision of the cosmos is an uncanny reflection of contemporary astrophysicists’ view of the universe. In short, Bruno’s life and his unending thirst for knowledge reflects humanity’s continuing struggle to define itself and find its own place in this curious universe.
Raymond van Over is the author and editor of over thirty books with mainstream publishers (Harper&Row, Penguin, Macmillan, New American Library, etc.) His books range from novels and general fiction (including true crime, fiction for young adults, and short stories for children), to folk tales, biography, psychology, and scholarly studies of myths. He has also been a ghostwriter for half a dozen books, including memoirs and general fiction. He has been a member of “The Authors Guild” for decades.
His writing credits include screenwriting — both feature films and documentaries (including the Academy Award nominated “A Portrait of Giselle” and “I Live for Art–Tosca,” ABC-TV/Wishupon Productions, narrated by Robert Merrill and directed by Muriel Balash). For years he was a story analyst and reader for independent and major film studios (Universal, Fox, and Columbia Pictures). He has traveled the globe (U.S. and Europe, LaAn America, Africa and Asia), spoken before many audiences and professional societies including MENSA, The New York Psychological Association, and the World Congress of Religions. He has also appeared on numerous television shows and radio programs, such as The Dick Cavet Show, Straight Talk, PBS-TV Specials, The Barry Farber Show, Margaret Truman’s Radio Show, etc. In addition to a traditional education in the U.S., he has lived and studied in Spain, England, and France. He received a certificate in Ancient History and Early Literature from Wolsey Hall, Oxford, and Literature at the University of Paris, Sorbonne.