Rajiv Joseph's first date was at the Cleveland Play House where he saw Man of the Moment, a 1988 play by Alan Ayckbourn.
The Cleveland Heights native, who went on to write the film Draft Day and plays including the Pulitzer Prize finalist Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, returns to the Cleveland Play House for another first.
His play Mr. Wolf makes its Cleveland debut April 2-24. The story centers around a girl who comes home after she was kidnapped. "It's about the fallout of that," says Joseph. "But it's about the relationship between this teenage girl and her experience with a world she didn't know existed."
It also navigates the effect the mysterious Mr. Wolf — played by John de Lancie, known for Q on Star Trek: The Next Generation — had on his 15-year-old captive. Mr. Wolf had convinced her to believe she's a prophet who can understand the universe by studying the stars. An astronomy class Joseph took at Miami University inspired the character's obsession with the heavens. "It's about astronomy as a mode for searching for God, as opposed to theology," says Joseph.
After the girl returns, the surety of her belief that she's a prophet upsets her family, bringing their own faith into question. "What happens when someone believes they're a prophet?" says Joseph. "And how do members of that person's family react to her?"