Bruneau and Harting to Star in Arena Stage's Legacy of Light

News   Bruneau and Harting to Star in Arena Stage's Legacy of Light
Casting has been announced for Arena Stage's upcoming production of Karen Zacarías' Legacy of Light, which begins performances at the Crystal City venue May 8.
Stephen Schnetzer, Carla Harting and Lise Bruneau
Stephen Schnetzer, Carla Harting and Lise Bruneau Photo by Scott Suchman

Directed by Arena stage artistic director Molly Smith, the production will run through June 14. Opening is set for May 14 at 8 PM.

The cast will boast Lise Bruneau (Shakespeare Theatre's recent Ion) as Émilie du Châtelet and Carla Harting (last at Arena in A Delicate Balance) as modern-day Dr. Olivia Hasting Brown with Stephen Schnetzer, Michael Russotto, Lindsey Kyler and David Covington.

In a statement direct Smith said, "This new comedy exhibits the witty elegance of Karen's writing: she is a gifted and fierce playwright. Legacy of Light is about enlightenment, the twin passions of motherhood and science, and the power of love and the power of learning. Through two readings, a workshop at Georgetown University and many conversations with D.C. area scientists and astronomers, this play has grown into a work that is readily accessible yet scientifically accurate."

Zacarías, founding artistic director of the Young Playwrights' Theater and winner of the 2000 Helen Hayes Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding New Play (The Sins of Sor Juana), added, "Although we do not know our distant relatives, we are still living, feeling and doing many of the same things they did 300 years ago. There is a sense of serendipity that infuses this play, an affirmation that everything changes but nothing is truly lost."

"Eras intertwine in this new work about the synchronicities of desire and discovery," according to Arena press notes. "Enter the world of 18th century France and meet physicist Émilie du Châtelet, lover of famous French philosopher Voltaire. When Émilie, at age 42, becomes unexpectedly pregnant and fears she may die in childbirth, she turns all attention to publishing her life's scientific discoveries. Jump forward to the present to meet brilliant astrophysicist Olivia and her husband, Peter, who want a child but cannot conceive. They find what could be hope in the free-spirited young surrogate Millie. Follow Émilie and Olivia as they struggle to balance the seemingly opposite pulls of intellectual and maternal fulfillment." The creative team includes set designer Marjorie Bradley Kellogg, costume designer Linda Cho, lighting designer Michael Gilliam, sound designer/composer André J. Pluess, production dramaturg Jocelyn Clarke and stage manager Susan R. White.

Tickets are available by visiting or by calling (202) 488-3300.

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