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First Light Performances

When a new telescope becomes operational, the initial images it sees are called First Light. For 17 years, the EST/Sloan Project has led a pioneering nationwide effort to commission, develop, and present hundreds of new plays that question 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.

Opening Event: EST/Youngblood Science Brunch

Join the playwrights of Obie Award-winning EST/Youngblood to ponder the great unsolvable questions of this world and the world beyond…along with a buffet of pancakes, bacon, and (Young) bloody marys.

Nov 2nd | Sun | @ 1pm

Satellite Event: Spill
by Leigh Fondakowski

Playwright Leigh Fondakowski (head writer of THE LARAMIE PROJECT) explores the stories of those whose lives have been affected by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. Based on extensive interviews with gulf coast residents, oil industry workers and environmentalists, SPILL presents the kaleidoscope of conflicting interests and perspectives that led to, and exacerbated, the catastrophe. (byinvitation only)

RoughCut Studio Series

In our 6th floor studio workshop, three leading EST playwrights deliver their newest work, book-in-hand, on its feet for the first time.

The Firebirds Take the Field
by Lynn Rosen*


It's been 25 years since molecular neuroscientist Avery Kahn left Highland Falls, NY. But when 18 local girls, cheerleaders mostly, are stricken with a mysterious ailment, Avery reluctantly returns home to tackle what the locals derisively call the “girl disease.” As Avery becomes affected—and infected—by the girls, the case becomes more personal than she ever expected.

Nov 18th | Tue | @ 7pm
Nov 19th | Wed | @ 3pm

by Lloyd Suh*

The story of growing up as the only son of Benjamin Franklin: the greatest scientific mind in the world, inventor of the lightning rod and the urinary catheter, and the glass harmonica,  and bifocal glasses, and, in his spare time, The United States of America.  

Nov 21st  | Fri | @ 7pm
Nov 25th | Tue | @ 3pm

by Anna Ziegler*

1968.  A child is born.  A terrible accident occurs. The story that follows is a heartbreaking tale of nature, nurture, and the indefinable things that make us who we are.

Dec 10th | Wed | @ 7pm
Dec 11th | Thur | @ 3pm

Earlier Event: November 11
First Light Readings
Later Event: December 4
Christmas In Queens