They were two forgotten scientists—and perhaps rightly—but 1998 Ovation and L.A. Weekly Award winner Glen Berger resurrects Jacques de Vaucanson and Lazzarro de Spallanzani's pursuit of knowledge in Great Men of Science Nos. 21 & 22, running June 1-July 15 at Seattle's Empty Space Theatre. Frequent Berger collaborator Dan Fields directs.
In the comic Great Men of Science Nos. 21 & 22, Berger examines two obscure, but very serious scientists of the 18th Century, Jacques de Vaucanson and Lazzarro de Spallanzani. Vaucanson spent his life trying to demonstrate the complex and intelligent design of the universe by creating an anatomically correct clockwork duck, while Spallanzani must only have the best and most delicate equipment to study the mating habits of frogs. Both men are inspired by the women in their lives—Vaucanson strives to create his duck so as to impress the love of his life, while Spallanzani can't work without the help of his diligent housekeeper.
Berger's works include This End Up, Bessemer's Spectacles, The Kaywoodie Briar Pipe Ad, The Birdwatcher and the one-man show, Underneath the Lintel. He is currently at work on a musical for Manhattan Theatre Club.
Eric Ray Anderson is Spallanzani and Burton Curtis is Vaucanson. Also in the cast are Mara Hesed (Gabrielle), Lori Larsen (Housekeeper), Brian Thompson (Abbe/Condorcet) and Seanjean Walsh (Le Cat).
Designing the show are Louisa Thompson (sets), Nanette Acosta (costumes), Timothy Wratten (lighting) and Nathan Anderson (sound and original music). Tickets are $28-$20. The Empty Space Theatre is located at 3509 Fremont North. For tickets, call (206) 547-7500. The Empty Space Theatre is on the web at http://www.emptyspace.org.
— By Christine Ehren