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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 thirteen 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.

by Frank Basloe

Yale, early 1960s. Professor Stanley Milgram's "obedience experiments+ù test how cruel people can be when they are just following orders. Milgram gets the data he needs, but the lab assistant who conducted the experiment is left to grapple with his own cruelty, a dilemma echoed by unexpected crimes on campus. Please Continue examines the conditions under which we allow ourselves to inflict harm. 

Monday, April 4 at 7pm


by Carla Ching

Mable Kwan was a famous grifter who taught her sons the long con, and how to be an expert roper and fixer. Tired of the life, Francis retired and became a magician. H became a sports writer. Blue, the youngest and the only girl, always kept out of the family trade, now studies game theory and may become the best con artist of the family. The estranged trio is called home to Mable's deathbed. With a small fortune at stake, will they be able to break old habits? Or who will con who in the end? 

Tuesday, April 5 at 7pm


by Robert Askins*

directed by David P. Moore*

It's 1993 and the biggest particle collider in the world is being built in Waxahatchie, Texas. As project head, Alan is the hometown boy made good. Never mind that the hometown didn't like him too much and his bosses need his accent more than his mind. He's living his dream until things start to slip: Bill Clinton is in the White House and Congress is out of money. All of a sudden, atoms aren't the only thing about to get busted apart.

With Florencia Lozano, Joel Rooks*, Scott Sowers*, Joe Urla and Michael Louis Wells*. Stage Managed by Kate Pressman.

Thursday, April 7 at 7pm


by Cori Thomas

directed by Mariana Carreño King

Maricela, recently out of prison and looking for gainful employment, begins a journey to become a Pest Control Engineer. Little does she know a bed bug epidemic looms...

With Maggie Bofill, Teddy Cañez, Maria Helan, Maria-Christina Oliveras and José Joaquín Perez. Stage Managed byMegan Kosmoski. 

Friday, April 8 at 3pm


Composed by Kim Sherman & Libretto by Margaret Vandenburg

directed by Lisa Rothe

Musical direction by Kim Grigsby
Stage Managed by Mark Karafin

An opera on the life of Ada Lovelace, daughter of the poet Lord Byron and widely credited with writing the first computer program. Like her father before her, Ada embarks on a Romantic quest that rebels against Victorian restraint, creating a revolutionary language of numbers that was way ahead of her time.

Featuring Millinee Bannister, Robert Boldin, Christopher Burchett, Sarah Chalfy, Brian Cheney, Cherry Duke, Juan Jose Ibarra, David Schmidt, Abigail Shue and Sarah Statler, with Pianist Micah Young. 

Monday, April 11 at 8pm @ The 52nd Street Project, 789 10th Avenue


by Susan Bernfield

directed by Emma Griffin

Catherine is a Silicon Valley billionaire who wants to give away her money - she thinks. Always a perfectionist, she is determined that her charity be as efficient and effective as everything else she's done in her life. But feeding the world is an unruly, messy business, where the rules she learned - and invented - don't apply. A play in three parts about goodness in the context of great privilege, and the moral value of work. 

Tuesday, April 12 at 3pm


by Bridgette Wimberly*

directed by Woodie King

Dr. Charles Drew encountered many separations throughout his life. The discoverer of the groundbreaking method of separating and preserving blood for safe transfusions and the driving force behind the first blood bank in the world was himself unable, like all African Americans, to receive a blood transfusion. On the night of April 1, 1950, in a long perilous drive through the south, he set out to change that. 

Tuesday, April 12 at 7pm


Conceived and directed by Jon Levin

Written by Jon Levin and Josh Luxenberg from research, interviews, improvisations and discussions by the Sinking Ship Presented alongside an Exploration of contemporary THEORIES of PHYSICS pertaining to EXTRA DIMENSIONS of SPACE. Based on "Flatland" by Edwin Abbott Abbott, and incorporating material from writing by Abbott, Charles Hinton, Brian Greene, Lisa Randall, Wade Davis, and conversations with Raman Sundrum, Andreas Karch and Wade Davis.

On the last night before the new Millennium, A. Square, an inhabitant of Flatland, is visited by a Sphere from the land of three dimensions. Sphere takes him on a journey to discover the true nature of the universe. But in Flatland, the notion of a third dimension is heresy, and one who preaches such heresy must be silenced. Using puppetry, physical theater and technology from overhead projectors to lasers, Flatland tells the story of a search to comprehend the world beyond our experience.

Featuring Brian Stokes Mitchell, Roger Robinson, Linda Powell, Olivia Ford and James Earl Jones

Ensemble: Clare McNulty, Johanna Morris, Jeremy Pickard, Eric Wright, Jesse Garrison, with a particularly large amount of research done by Solon Gordon. Performed by Sinking Ship Ensemble Rehearsal/workshop puppets built by Eric Wright. Technical Directed by Jesse Garrison. Stage Managed by Sarah Biesinger. 

Thursday, April 14 at 3pm & Friday, April 15 at 7pm @ The Vault (LMCC's Swing Space), 14 Wall street, Level B


by Lynn Eckert, Christine Farrell*, and Kevin Confoy*

directed by Kevin Confoy*

Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell was the first woman to receive an MD degree from an American medical school. A Lady Alone is a one-woman play about a life that spanned the American Civil War and the most intriguing questions of science and the human condition at the top of the 20th century.

Monday, April 18 at 7pm

*denotes member of Ensemble Studio Theatre


Earlier Event: March 6
Payback's A Brunch
Later Event: April 3
A Brunch History Of Time