It's Sabbath in the Zukri household in Glasgow. As the family relaxes after a Sabbath meal, bored Elad sneaks upstairs to watch wrestling on TV, thinking about how he and his father used to watch together. But that was before. Elad is caught and dragged to prayers. In the synagogue he daydreams, a wrestling daydream. Elad must fight his father, the rabbi, in the synagogue! He jumps onto the prayer platform, performs a flying leap and claims victory. Elad jumps up, He roars. At which point he is snapped out of his fantasy by a shocked community and an embarrassed father. After prayers Elad is in trouble. His father tries to impress on his son the importance of being a role model. But his father feels shamed and his anger shows. That's when Elad's mother steps in. She wins a reprieve for their son. But the boy isn't paying attention. He's back on the prayer platform, lording it over his defeated father and sucking up the crowd's adoration. It's a symbolic moment – one day he'll have to make sense of the sacrifices and choices his father made on his behalf. For now this is all he has.
The biblical source is Genesis 22, the binding of Isaac. We also draw insights Maimonides, who positions this as one of Abraham's ten trials. This is a modern perspective on this story; in the biblical narrative Isaac's experience is not explored, and back then ideas of trauma, or the rights of the child did not exist. So we have chosen to tell the story from the perspective of Isaac. He's sometimes portrayed as a model child because of his obedience…would he really sit quietly with a knife over him, or might he dream of rebellion? In our adaptation Elad's Dad makes the sacrifice for his faith, and his family. He chose to take the family down a strict religious path when he took on the role of Rabbi, and assumed his children would follow obediently. As an immigrant in 1980s Scotland he feels he must work particularly hard to maintain his community's hard won respect, but that exacting religious stringency is a sacrifice at the expense of the relationship with his son. Finally Elad's empowered Mother takes the role of the angel, gaining a reprieve for Elad as well as her husband.