Theater Arts at Caltech presents
MACH 33: THE FESTIVAL OF NEW SCIENCE-DRIVEN PLAYS
Join us for our exciting Festival kick-off event on Earth Day!
Earth Day, April 22: "Dr. Keeling's Curve" starring Mike Farrell
The issue of global climate change takes center stage in a compelling new one man show by George Shea, directed by Kristen Sanderson. Actor and activist Mike Farrell (B.J. Hunnicut in "M*A*S*H") plays Dr. David Keeling, the scientist whose research on CO2 gave the world its first early warnings of global warming. In this highly acclaimed performance, Farrell brings to life the quirky and brilliant man who created the Keeling Curve, the iconic chart that illustrates the rise in atmosphere CO2 levels from 1958 to the present. The event begins at 6:30 with Caltech and JPL scientists on hand for a high-tech collaborative learning experience about climate change. Ernie's Al Fresco food truck and Rose City Coffee will be on the scene! The show begins at 8pm, followed by a panel discussion featuring the playwright and the actor joined on stage by climate change experts from Caltech and JPL. Ramo Auditorium, Caltech campus. Ticket price: $5 students; $20 Caltech faculty & staff, seniors & teachers; $35 general public. For more information, go to http://www.drkeelingscurve.net
The following 3 events are staged readings performed in the Hameetman Auditorium, The Cahill Center for Astrophysics, 1216 E. California Blvd
"They Promised Her the Moon" by Laurel Ollstein, Saturday, May 3, 4pm
NASA 1960: Thirteen accomplished women pilots pass the grueling NASA tests for astronauts, and when LIFE magazine gets ahold of the story a few of the women shine as minor celebrities heading for space. Yet the macho culture of the NASA program resists. Vice President Lyndon Johnson even scribbles a memo, "Let's stop this now!" It would be twenty more years before Sally Ride blasts off in Challenger 3. "They Promised Her the Moon" tells the true story of one of these women . Jerrie Cobb . who for a short, thrilling time thought that she would be the first female astronaut in space. Award-winning actor and playwright Laurel Ollstein received the Faith Broome Playwright-in-Residence award at the University of Oklahoma, which commissioned and produced an earlier version of "They Promised Her the Moon". "They Promised Her the Moon" will be directed by Brenda Varda, founding member and Artistic Director of Wordspace, a studio for writing classes, workshops, and events in Los Angeles.
"Theory of Nothing" by Lolly Ward, Saturday, May 10, 4pm
If Marie Curie stopped by your tree house, would you let her in? Tough-as-nails physicist Brit Swanson has been married to the well-known sculptor Chuck Swanson for over thirty years. The play begins as their son Max (a condensed matter physicist) and their daughter Sugar (a designer) return to their childhood home to pack up the house on the eve of their parents' divorce. But when the characters reveal shocking truths about themselves, the entire family is forced to confront questions of honesty, allegiance, and madness. In one wild night of discovery, complications of love and memory in multiple dimensions change their paths. "Theory of Nothing" is a visceral and exciting theater experience written by Lolly Ward, whose play "Mate: The Untouchable Bobby Fischer" premiered at Caltech in 2012, directed by Brian Brophy, Director of Theater Arts at Caltech. Her play "72 Objects" is a 2014 semifinalist for the Eugene O'Neill National Playwrights Conference. "Theory of Nothing" will be directed by Arden Thomas, Executive Producer of MACH 33: The Festival of New Science-Driven Plays at Caltech.
"Capture the Sun" by George Morgan, Saturday, May 17, 3:30pm
An event for the Caltech Alumni Weekend
What if someone created a non-polluting form of energy that was cheap and inexhaustible? In 1989, Dr. Stanley Pons of the University of Utah and Dr. Martin Fleischmann of Cambridge claimed to have done exactly that. They invited journalists from around the world to a press conference in which they announced their discovery . a discovery the media soon began referring to as "cold fusion." After several highly respected universities began announcing successful replication of the Pons/Fleischmann experiment, all hell broke loose, and everyone everywhere began to believe that the Earth.s energy problems had been resolved forever. Through interviews and records provided by academic researchers . many from Caltech . George D. Morgan's latest play shines a light on the dramatic story of two scientists whose rise to fame, and subsequent humiliation, was played out in front of the entire world. "Capture the Sun" will be directed by Brian Brophy, Director of Theater Arts at Caltech. Morgan's first two plays in his "Pasadena trilogy" . "Rocket Girl" and "Pasadena Babalon" . were also produced at Caltech under the direction of Brian Brophy.
The Festival of New Science-Driven Plays at Caltech
MACH 33: The Festival of New Science-Driven Plays at Caltech fosters compelling dialogues on scientific, mathematical, and technological questions by staging readings of new, unpublished plays by Los Angeles-area playwrights. MACH 33 offers artistic and very human experiences that capture our moral imagination and deepen public conversations and curiosity about science. The readings, by casts including Caltech students, faculty, staff, and other members of the Caltech / JPL / Huntington Library community, are open to the public and include post-show discussions with the playwrights. Each season, one play is selected for its world premiere in the following year as a fully staged production at Caltech.
Why is the festival named MACH 33? The "escape velocity" is the speed needed to "break free" from the gravitational attraction of a massive body. On the surface of Earth, escape velocity is about 11.2 kilometers per second, or approximately 33 times the speed of sound: Mach 33. Our name thus celebrates the innovative, dynamic breakthroughs that scientists and artists achieve.
Through our performances and post-show discussions, MACH 33 strives to:
- Challenge and broaden the view of science, mathematics, and technology in the popular imagination
- Make science feel more alive, exciting, and tangible
- Deepen our emotional responses to science and scientific inquiries
- Activate new ways of imagining the science all around us
- Strengthen personal connections to the scientists, engineers, and mathematicians who shape our world