Idea for 'Vigils' Sprang from Classic Myth Study

Article excerpt

Byline: Jack Helbig

Noah Haidle, author of the play "Vigils," receiving its world premiere at the Goodman Theatre, always figured growing up he would become a man of science. Like his dad, who is a doctor.

"I don't know what happened," Haidle muses. "I grew up in Grand Rapids, Mich., and I was going to be a physicist. Then in my junior year of high school I realized I wasn't very good at math."

By chance Haidle happened across a book called "In Their Own Words," a collection of interviews with contemporary American playwrights.

"I read the interviews," Haidle said. "Then I started reading their plays. And I wanted to be part of that."

He wanted to figure out how to write a play. And to do that, he explained, he read a play a day for five years.

"I gambled on myself," he said. "I gambled that I stimulated myself. If I read enough, I will be able to synthesize my own plays."

A decade or so later, his gamble paid off. After landing a stint in Juilliard's prestigious play-writing program, he's written a play strong enough to be part of the lineup at Chicago's premier theater.

The play concerns a woman who is grieving the death of her husband, a fireman killed in the line of duty. …