SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST

Synopsis: A three-act play, set in Victorian England in the mid-19th century and based upon the competition between Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace to discover the principles behind natural selection, the cornerstone for theories concerning the origin of species and the basis for modern concepts of evolution. The play addresses the issues surrounding the nature of scientific discovery, creativity, priority, competition and integrity. The conflicts center on the reactions of Darwin, his colleagues and the scientific establishment to the receipt of a letter from Wallace, posted from the South Pacific, and outlining all of the salient features of natural selection.

 

Genre: Historical drama

Running Time: Approximately 2 hours

Cast: Number of characters: 11

          Minimum number of performers required: 8 (7M/1F, flexible)

          Ethnicity: irrelevant

Special Requirements: None

HELIOS

Synopsis: Eadweard Muybridge was a pioneering 19th century photographer whose efforts to freeze time and motion established the basis for cinematography. Hired by Governor Leland Stanford to settle a wager as to whether a galloping horse ever has all four feet off the ground simultaneously, Muybridge employed a battery of cameras that sequentially captured the horse in full stride. Viewing a world in motion through the confines of his narrow lens, Muybridge failed to see his young wife’s adultery until, confronted by the realization that he was not the father of his newborn son, he cold-bloodedly murdered his wife’s lover. In a controversial and celebrated trial, Muybridge was acquitted on the grounds of justifiable homicide, only to discover that Stanford had taken credit for his work. HELIOS is the tragic story of an artist who could only see the world through his camera…who could arrest time and motion, but never force them to move backwards.

Genre: Historical drama

Running Time: Approximately 2 hours

Cast: Number of characters: 14

          Minimum number of performers required: 7 (5M/2F)

          Ethnicity: irrelevant

Special Requirements: Ability to project photographs and videos

FIXATION

Synopsis: FIXATION is based upon the life of Fritz Haber, a German chemist of the early 20th century, who has been credited with saving more lives than any other scientist in history. His process for converting atmospheric nitrogen into fertilizer revolutionized agriculture at a time when it seemed unlikely that there would be sufficient food production for the world’s growing population. But Haber was a man of deep contradictions. Born a Jew during the rise of the Second Reich in Germany, he converted to Christianity and devoted himself to German nationalism. With the onset of World War I, he transformed his nitrogen fixation process into the manufacture of gunpowder and explosives and then supervised the development of poison gas warfare. At the party in Berlin celebrating the first deployment of chemical warfare, his wife, a prominent chemist, herself, but unhappy with both her marriage and career, committed suicide in protest of her husband’s war efforts. Branded a war criminal by the British and French, Haber, nevertheless, received the Nobel Prize in 1918. He continued to supervise the German military-academic-industrial complex after the War, but, with the rise of fascism, found his position in Germany increasingly untenable. FIXATION is a Mephistophelean story of ambition and genius, triumph and tragedy, embodying science’s ultimate dilemma: its ability to be used for both good and evil.

 

Genre: Historical drama

Running Time: 90-120 minutes

Cast: Number of characters: 10

          Minimum number of performers required: 7 (5M/2F)

          Ethnicity: irrelevant

Special Requirements: None

 

STELLA NOVA

Synopsis: The 17th century German astronomer, Johannes Kepler, is determined to understand the “harmony of the heavens” by accurately plotting the orbits of the planets and reconciling this system with his vision of God’s creation. To accomplish this, he must rely upon the astronomical observations of the Danish astronomer, Tycho Brahe. Brahe has constructed his own geocentric model of the solar system, which he jealously protects. He and his disciple, Tengnagel, recognize Kepler’s genius, but are reluctant to relinquish their observations, in fear that he might overturn their model. Tengnagel is engaged to Brahe’s pregnant daughter and together they plot to poison Brahe, frame Kepler, and retain control of the astronomical observations.

 

Genre: Historical drama

Running Time: Approximately 90 minutes

Cast: Number of characters: 7

          Minimum number of performers required: 6 (3M/3F or 4M/2F)

          Ethnicity: irrelevant

Special Requirements: None

 SYNOPSES