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First Light Readings

Presented by the Ensemble Studio Theatre and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

When a new telescope focused on the heavens becomes operational, the initial images it sees are called First Light. For fifteen years, the EST/Sloan Project has led a pioneering nationwide effort to commission, develop and present hundreds of new plays that challenge and broaden the view of science in the popular imagination. Each play's life onstage begins with the First Light festival. Join us for this year's discoveries.

EST/Sloan Playwrights Panel

Tuesday, March 5 @ 7pm

The EST/Sloan Project has spent 15 years developing new plays on science, technology, engineering and economics. At this panel, EST/Sloan writers will discuss the challenge of creating theatre about science, and the different ways they have met that challenge.

Participants will include EST/Sloan Mainstage Playwrights:

Lucas Hnath (ISAAC'S EYE)
Deborah Zoe Laufer (END DAYS)
Patrick Link (HEADSTRONG)
Anna Zeigler (PHOTOGRAPH 51)

Informed Consent
by Deborah Zoe Laufer

Thursday, February 28 @ 7pm

A genetic anthropologist studying the DNA of the Havasupi Tribe violates her trust with the tribe to expand the scope of her research. Based on true events surrounding the court case between the Havasupi and Arizona State University.

Directed by Lisa Peterson* with Rebecca Henderson, Roscoe Orman, Tanis Parenteau, Brian Quijada & Socorro Santiago.

Life On Paper
by Kenneth Lin

Friday, February 8

An economist is tasked by an insurance company to calculate the monetary value of people’s lives. A romantic comedy about how we measure what we’re worth.

Danny's Brain
by Joe Gilford*

Monday, February 11

When her teenage son is offered a football scholarship, a neuroscientist grapples with the implications of chronic traumatic encephalopathy research and the game she’s raised him to love.

Directed by Mark Armstrong* with Denny Bess*, Tim Cain*, Helen Coxe*, Bjorn duPaty*, David Gelles*, Sam Gilroy, Patricia McCall, & Stephen Stout.

Dark Matter
by August Schulenburg

Tuesday, February 12

Maxine Clerk is a physicist chasing after the mysterious dark matter and energy that make up 95% of our known universe. As a rival colleague undermines her efforts, her personal life also begins to unravel. Facing the illness of her daughter and father, the distance of her lover and mentor, and the dangers of her own darkness, Maxine’s struggle to understand the universe becomes a matter of personal survival.

Directed by Tom Wojtunik* with Vandit Bhatt, Molly Carden*, Nedra McClyde*, James Murtuagh*, Joel Rooks*, Marguerite Stimpson & Stephen Stout.

The Article In Question
Written & Directed by Tom Rowan*

Wednesday, February 13

When an article on global warming was published bearing the names of twowell-known scientists, its authorship was disputed. Had one of the credited authors, a respected pioneer in the field, changed his mind about the causes of global warming, or was his name used without his approval? This play examines the conflicting pressures placed on scientists, and investigate how science may be manipulated to political ends.

With Adam Arian+, Brad Bellamy*+, Eric Conger*+, Jane House+, Abigail Gampel*+, Martin LaPlatney+, Rebecca Whitehurst+

The Drive
by Anna Moench and Rob Rusli

Monday, February 18

A musical account of the motivations and actions of Lisa Nowak, the NASA astronaut who was apprehended on her way to murder her lover’s fiancée.

Directed by Jaime Castañeda with Katie Atcheson*, Denny Bess*,  Molly Carden*, Ryan Dowler, Emma Galvin, Andrew Garman*, Jay Liebman*, Mikhaela Mahony, Alfredo Narciso* &Lisa Wisan

The Devil's Salt
by France-Luce Benson*

Tuesday, February 19

As practiced by Haitian firebrand Jean Dominique, Agronomy, the science of soil management and crop production, becomes a dangerously revolutionary act.

Directed by Jamie Richards* with Shyko Amos*, Kyle Beltran, Christopher Burris, Bjorn duPaty*, Alfredo Narciso*, Rocc Omari & Antu Yajob

by Bridgette Wimberly*

Friday, February 22

Astronomy proves to be a lifeline for young man in his quest to survive his youth and connect to his troubled father.

Directed by Chuck Patterson* with Franceli Chapman, Nora Cole, Marcus Carl Franklin, Yvette Ganier, Kimberley LaMarque, Roscoe Orman & Samantha Sembler.

The Hundred Year Flood
by Meghan Deans

Sunday, February 24 @ 4pm

A civil engineer in charge of deciding which flood-ruined homes to buy for a land reclamation project finds her task complicated when her high school boyfriend comes back to town and files a claim for the house he grew up in.

Directed by Colette Robert* with Helen Coxe*, Christine Farrell*, Adam Green, Kelli Lynn Harrison*, Megan Hill* & Megan Tusing*

Father Unknown
by Daniel Reitz*

Monday, February 25

When two different families discover their newborns have come from the same sperm donor, they delve deeper into his history, with unexpected results. A surprising look at the booming business of fertility.

Directed by Pamela Berlin* with Andrea Cirie, Annie Meisel, Henny Russell, Margot White &Gregory Woodell. Stage Directions read by Samantha Sembler.

The Death of The Slow’dying Scuba Diver
by Matthew Paul Olmos*

Wednesday, February 27

A murdered scuba diver hangs in the middle of the ocean, meanwhile a struggling couple hang in the middle of the suburbs, and between them the life in the ocean begins to atrophy.

*denotes EST Member +denotes AEA

Earlier Event: January 20
Isaac's Eye
Later Event: February 3