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About the project

† Bryan Paul And Arliss

Book of Job

Dramatic Reading of The Book of Job, by Translated by Stephen Mitchell

Directed and Adapted by Bryan Doerries

The Book of Job Project presents dramatic readings by acclaimed actors of The Book of Job as a catalyst for powerful, guided conversations about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic upon individuals, families, and communities. The Book of Job is an ancient Hebrew poem that timelessly explores how humans behave when faced with disaster, pestilence and injustice.

Developed in collaboration with PopTech, The Book of Job was created to promote healing dialogue within the community of Joplin, which was devastated by a tornado in May 2011. The project has since been presented all over the country and the world, from New York City (Hurricane Sandy), to Pascagoula, MS (10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina), to Japan (Fukushima).

I talked to a lady after the tornado—she said she wished she had died instead of a friend. I think she was in so much pain. I listened, but I wish I could have known what to say. She had lost hope. She definitely was wanting to curse God. All I could do was pray and I cried. I now wish I had said nothing and just held her. Words aren’t always helpful.
Audience member, College Heights Christian Church (Joplin, MO, 2012)
The Spirit Tree in Joplin, MO, which survived the tornado and was painted to commemorate the one-year anniversary. Photo by Wyatt Mason

About the play

  • The Book of Job by Translated by Stephen Mitchell

    The Book of Job is an ancient Hebrew poem that timelessly explores how humans behave when bad things happen to good people. At the beginning of the poem, Job, a righteous and prosperous man, is tested by God. In the span of one day, he loses everything—his children, his crops, his livestock, his house, and his health. Convinced of his own innocence, Job sits silently in the dirt behind what's left of his home and asks God for an explanation. But God doesn't answer. Job is visited by a group of friends who, at first, sympathize with his suffering, but when Job begins to question why he has been singled out and made to suffer, they condemn his behavior and accuse him of having done something to deserve his terrible fate. In spite of these accusations, Job clings to the belief that he has done nothing wrong and continues to shake his fists at the sky in righteous indignation. At the very end of the poem, God reveals himself to Job as a disembodied voice within a whirlwind and rebukes him for presuming to understand His will. Job covers his mouth and falls silent, and—in an enigmatic ending—God restores his health and prosperity, doubling his children, his livestock, and his crops.

Book of Job Highlights

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Book of Job Knox County Instagram
Book of Job

Book of Job: Knox County, Ohio

On Zoom / 2020

On December 6th, we are presenting the Book of Job Project, focused on the Knox County, Ohio community, as part of Theater of War Productions’ year-long virtual residency at Kenyon College. We are pleased to open this program up to the public to create the conditions for dialogue and connection during this time of isolation and division. Featuring performances by Bill Murray, Frankie Faison, David Strathairn, Marjolaine Goldsmtih, Kathryn Erbe, and Nyasha Hatendi. RSVP!

Jeffrey Wright Plays Job
Book of Job

Jeffrey Wright plays Job

On Zoom with Exodus Transitional Community / 2020

This special event was a collaboration with Exodus Transitional Community aimed at engaging a socially distanced audience of adults and youth affected by the justice system. We were proud to open this innovative program to the public, to bear witness to the insights of the Exodus Transitional Community.

Ato Essandoh Plays Job
Book of Job

Ato Essandoh Plays Job

On Zoom / 2020

Book of Job

A short documentary on the Book of Job in Joplin, MO

Joplin, MO / 2012

Book of Job was first presented in Joplin, MO in 2012, on the anniversary of the the tornado that devastated the Joplin community.

Screen Shot 2018 09 26 At 2 55 01 Pm
Book of Job

Telling Story of Job at Sandy-Ravaged Synagogue in Rockaways

Queens, NY / 2013

Theater of War Productions presented Book of Job in West End Temple in the Rockaways, marking the first time congregants stepped foot in the sanctuary after it was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. See article in The Forward.

Paul Giamatti Job In Joplin
Book of Job

Actors bring Book of Job to life for Joplin audiences

The Joplin Globe / 2012

Book of Job

The Book of Job as Community Theater Readings after Superstorm Sandy and other disasters

Public Seminar / 2014

Harpers Job
Book of Job

You Are Not Alone Across Time: Using Sophocles to treat PTSD

Harpers Magazine / 2014

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