Science as Theater: “First Light” Festival to Open in New York, Directed by Chemical Engineer and MIT Alumnus, Carlos Armesto

Any of you, particularly those with scientific leanings, who are  visiting New York City in March or April should consider taking in a play.  Not a Broadway play, but a new production that tackles scientific themes in an unusual and interesting way.  The Ensemble Theater's/Sloan Project's  First Light festival aims to do just that.  Serendib will be a focal point of the production. Below a listing of productions, some of which are directed by Ensemble Theater director Carlos Armesto, an MIT graduate in chemical engineering who won the Princess Grace award two years ago and is making a career in New York theater. SERENDIB By David Zellnik* Directed by Carlos Armesto Puppet Design and Direction by Emily DeCola 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? A fascinating combination of puppetry and traditional drama, Serendib examines the fine line between nature vs. nurture, and just how different we are (or arent) from primates. March 28 - April 22, 2007 Previews $25, Regular Performances $30, $15 Students & Seniors Free for Festival Passholders Go to theatremania.com to purchase tickets, or call 212 352 3101 READING WEEK The first public readings of the latest EST-Sloan Commissions. Admission is $10 to all Readings. FREE for Festival Passholders Purchase tickets at theatremania.com or call 212 352 3101 EVER MORE INTELLIGENT By Alex Timbers Victorian England. Two drunken scientists are enclosed in a laboratory filled with microscopic flesh-eating robots. Uh-oh. Monday, April 2, 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 Washingtons financial failures, and the complexity theory behind firefly blinking patterns all converge to form a fragile but dangerous ecosystem.  Can an entomologist, his undergraduate assistant, his wife, her "alternative healer," the mathematician, and the dean of the college figure out what connects them¦ before its too late. Tuesday, April 3, 7 PM LEAVE A LIGHT ON By Ann Marie Healy* Robert Trivers, one of the founding fathers of evolutionary biology, meets his match in fellow researcher Helen Bunwick. As the two scientists spar their way across the political minefields of science and education in the late 1970s, they discover deeper motivations for their intellectual quests. The ultimate challenge becomes a research project on deception and self-deception in the evolutionary process. Who is lying to whom? And, in science's survival of the fittest, what will it mean to win? Wednesday, April 4, 3 PM CHANCE AND NECESSITY By Jon Klein CHANCE AND NECESSITY reveals the secret adventures of Jacques Monod, the Nobel-Prize winning molecular biologist.  The astounding events of Monod's early life“battling the German Occupation of Paris alongside his friend Albert Camus, surrendering to an illicit love affair with a young music student, and discovering the bacterial properties that led to Monod's own theories on evolution“are all chronicled and speculated upon by another famous friend“the tortured author, Jerzy Kosinski. Thursday, April 5, 7 PM DOCTORS JANE AND ALEXANDER By Edward Einhorn Using found, fabricated, and occasionally finagled text, Edward Einhorn explores the life of his grandfather Alexander Wiener, the co-discoverer of the Rh factor in blood, through interviews with his mother Jane Einhorn, a PhD psychologist who recently retired due to a debilitating stroke.   In the course of these interviews his grandfather's ambitions and achievements are contrasted with his mother's and ultimately with his own. Friday, April 6, 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 brillaint young man with a secret to convince him the world needs to know it moves. Monday, April 9, 7 PM WORKSHOPS Presentations of plays further along in development. Admission is $10 to all Workshops. FREE for Festival Passholders. Purchase tickets at theatremania.com or call 212 352 3101 THE TALLEST BUILDING IN THE WORLD By Matt Schatz What drives the quest to create the world's tallest building?  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. Friday, April 13, 7 PM BY PROXY By Amy Fox* BY PROXY 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, which leads to a personal and professional dilemma. Friday, April 20, 7 PM GALOIS By Sung Rno Math, love and revolution collide in this music theater 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.  Monday, April 23, 7 PM ME AND MARIE CURIE By Alec Duffy In this magical drama, 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, who exposes her to the idea that science may ask for more of a personal sacrifice than one bargained for. Friday, April 27, 7 PM CABARET SCIENTIFIQUE Closing Event of the First Light Festival Admission is FREE DISCOVER THE LIGHTER SIDE OF SCIENCE. Join us for a power-packed evening of song, dance and comedy--specially comissioned by the EST-Sloan Project to celebrate the mergin of art, science and technology. Quirky, hilarious and endearing, these top acts are sure to close the First Light Festival with a night to remember. Come and celebrate. Friday, April 27, 10 PM For a link to the online listing of plays, click here.