Science plays come of age

Lauren Gunderson -- a playwright, screenwriter, short story author, and actor based in Atlanta, GA -- discusses the art of scientific storytelling

Lauren Gunderson
Jul 27, 2006
My career as a science playwright started when I asked my undergraduate physics professor to let me write a play instead of a term paper. Luckily he agreed, and the result was a time-twisting play called Background, based on cosmologist Ralph Alpher. Unexpectedly, the play not only satisfied my physics professor, it went on to receive awards and inspire productions across the country. Several years later, it now seems that stages across the world have fallen in love with science. It's an age-old flirtation, for sure. From the Greeks to Marlowe to now, scientists (and alchemists) have held a fascination for playwrights and audiences. More recently, in our tech-savvy, genetically altered, atomic-powered climate, plays containing science of any description can head straight for the spotlight, and hits like Tom Stoppard's time-bending chaos theory play Arcadia and Michael Frayn's Heisenberg-Bohr intellectual smash Copenhagen have delighted audiences for the past...
The MagicManhattan Theater ClubNew Plays InitiativeCenter for Science EducationActor's Express TheatreA Short History of Nearly Everything, Principia consult scientists in personBaby MWe move in secrets. Fundamentals locked, related in code. What is obvious is not always what is. And what is isn't always what is known. Essentially, we deal in thought made manifest, and this work represents the world.why howLouis Slotin SonataLeap, Men have died chasing what I'm after! Sacrificed life and loyalty. It is not funny. This consciousness is as serious as you can possibly come close to knowing. You should treat it as such.Lauren GundersonDeepen The Mysterylgunderson@the-scientist.comBackgroundhttp://www.laurengunderson.com/?page_id=26http://www.ralphalpher.com/Arcadiahttp://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0571169341/026-0755739-9114063Copenhagenhttp://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0385720793/qid=1109630870/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/104-8893796-7875167?v=glance&s=bookshttp://www.magictheatre.org/jsp_index.jsphttp://www.mtc-nyc.org/http://www.sloan.org/main.shtmlhttp://www.cse.emory.edu/http://www.actors-express.com/A Short History of Nearly Everythinghttp://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0767908171?v=glanceThe Scientisthttp://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/23150/Baby Mhttp://www.laurengunderson.com/?page_id=38Louis Slotin Sonatahttp://www.paulmullin.org/Slotin%20Sonata.htmLeaphttp://www.laurengunderson.com/?page_id=20http://www.laurengunderson.comDeepen The Mysteryhttp://www.iuniverse.com/bookstore/book_detail.asp?isbn=0-595-37966-4