The First Light Festival presents new work commissioned by the EST/Sloan Project — a partnership between the theatre and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation — which supports plays about science and technology.
Readings will include Ever More Intelligent by Alex Timbers, The Great Dismal by Gwydion Suilebhan, Leave a Light On by Ann Marie Healy, Chance and Necessity by Jon Klein, Doctors Jane and Alexander by Edward Einhorn and Perfect and Constant by Rob Askins.
Workshops, which will be semi-staged, will include The Tallest Building in the World by Matt Schatz, By Proxy by Amy Fox, Galois by Sung Rno and Me and Marie Curie by Alec Duffy.
The festival will finish up on April 27 at 10 PM with a science-themed cabaret.
As previously announced, the main production of the festival will be the New York premiere of David Zellnik's play Serendib, a hybrid of drama and puppetry, from March 28-April 22, with an opening of April 4. Press notes describe Serendib as such: "In order to save their study, a group of scientists invite a team of filmmakers to document their work, but will the results do more harm than good?"
Carlos Armesto, the co-director of the EST/Sloan Project, directs Serendib, which has a cast that includes Joseph Adams (A View From the Bridge on Broadway) Linda Powell (On Golden Pond on Broadway), James Rana, PJ Sosko, Geeta Citygirl, Nitya Vidyasagar and Richard B. Watson.
Casting for the readings and workshops has yet to be announced.
The schedule of readings is as follows:
April 2, 7 PM
Ever More Intelligent
By Alex Timbers
According to press notes, the play is about "Victorian England: two drunken scientists in a laboratory filled with microscopic flesh-eating robots."
April 3, 7 PM
The Great Dismal
By Gwydion Suilebhan
"At a thriving Christian college, the lives of six diverse people gradually become bogged down in the Great Dismal Swamp, where the Underground Railroad, George Washington's financial failures, and the complexity theory behind firefly blinking patterns all converge to form a fragile but dangerous ecosystem."
April 4, 3 PM
Leave a Light On
By Ann Marie Healy
Inspired by the writings of Robert Trivers
"Robert Trivers, one of the founding fathers of evolutionary biology, meets his match in Helen Bunwick. As the two scientists spar their way across the political minefields of science and education in the late '70s, they discover deeper motivations for their intellectual quests."
April 5, 7 PM
Chance and Necessity
By Jon Klein
The play "reveals the secret adventures of Jacques Monod, the Nobel Prize-winning molecular biologist."
April 6, 7 PM
Doctors Jane and Alexander
By Edward Einhorn
Einhorn uses found text to explore the life of his grandfather Alexander Wiener, the co-discoverer of the Rh factor in blood, through interviews with his mother Jane Einhorn, a psychologist who recently retired due to a stroke.
April 9, 7 PM
Perfect and Constant
By Rob Askins
"It's 1541 and Nicolaus Copernicus is dying in silence. The master behind the modern cosmos refuses to publish his theories. It is up to Georg Joachim Rheticus a brilliant young man with a secret to convince him the world needs to know it moves."
A full list of workshops:
April 13, 7 PM
The Tallest Building in the World
By Matt Schatz
In the 1960s everything seemed possible to the engineers and architect who conceived and built the World Trade Center complex. Based on actual events, The Tallest Building In The World examines what is gained and what is lost when we try to reach the sky.
April 20, 7 PM
By Amy Fox
The play "follows the story of Sonia, a young doctor working for the top researcher of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, who makes a startling discovery about a closely studied family."
April 23, 7 PM
By Sung Rno
A "music theatre piece exploring the romantic life of Evariste Galois, who invented a branch of mathematics, Galois Groups, as a teenager, but died at 21, the victim of a tragic duel over a woman amid the radical politics of France in the 1830s."
April 27, 7 PM
Me and Marie Curie
By Alec Duffy
"Madelyn, a 16-year old science whiz, competes to be selected by NASA for the first 'manned' mission to Mars. To help her, she enlists the aid of Marie Curie."
EST is located at 549 West 52nd Street in Manhattan. To purchase tickets and festival passes or for more information, call (212)352-3101 or visit www.ensemblestudiotheatre.org.