Mark Rucker directs the work penned by the A.C.T. artistic director, which began Nov. 29 and will play through Dec. 23 at the Magic Theatre.
The protagonist of Luminescence Dating is Angela Hart, "an archeologist determined to find the Praxiteles Aphrodite, a seven-foot tall marble nude that aroused obsessions in 4th century B.C. before vanishing without a trace," according to a release. Angela, her colleague and friend Victor as well as her professional nemesis and former lover Nigel all set off to unravel the mystery.
The cast of Luminescence Dating features A.C.T. core acting company members René Augesen and Gregory Wallace as Angela and Victor, respectively. Stephen Barker Turner plays Nigel, while Ching Valdes Aran portrays Aphrodite.
Playwright and archaeology buff Perloff penned the work after a trip to the Smithsonian where archaeologist Iris Cornelia Love spoke of her excavations at the temple of Aphrodite at Knidos. "I was so taken by this woman who was such a maverick in a field typically dominated by men," said Perloff. "Archaeology is a scientific endeavor, but it's also a leap of the imagination. . . In archaeology forgotten moments from the past can reemerge and what is critically important can sink into the oblivion in an instant. These sort of epic quests that Love undertook are not only hugely inspiring, but they are the stuff of great drama as well."
The design team for Luminescence Dating features Erik Flatmo (set), Callie Floor (costumes), Russell H. Champa (lighting) and composer Chris Houston (sound). The commission from The Ensemble Studio Theatre and Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Science & Technology Project was read as a part of Science on Stage 2003, then workshopped in 2004 at A.C.T. and New York Stage & Film. It received its NY premiere in April 2005 at the Ensemble Studio Theatre's First Light Festival. Magic artistic director Chris Smith serves as the original dramaturg.
"It is so appropriate for A.C.T. and the Magic to celebrate our 40th seasons together and Luminescence Dating is the perfect play for this partnership," said Smith.
Tickets to Luminescence Dating are available through the Magic Theatre box office at (415) 441-8822 or online at magictheatre.org.