Female Scientists to the Rescue

Play title:  Female Scientist to the Rescue

Author (s):  Rex McGregor

For more information email playwright at rex.mcgregor@xtra.co.nz 

Genre: Drama, collection of short plays

Primary Discipline: Astronomy

Secondary Discipline:  Chemistry

Scientist (s) and Historical Figure (s):

Nicolaus Copernicus – Polish mathematician and astronomer. Most remembered for creating a model of the universe that centered around the sun, not the earth. 

Hypatia – Egyptian philosopher, astronomer, mathematician. Taught at the Neoplatonic school in Alexandria before her death in 415AD.

Pierre Curie – Husband of Marie Curie. French physicist most known for his work in cystallography, magnetism, piezoelectricity, and radioactivity. 

Marie Curie – Polish physicists and chemist. Awarded two Nobel prizes, her second for her discovery of radium.

Eusapia Palladino – Also named the ‘Witch of Napoli’, she was an Italian spiritualist and physical medium. Known for levitating tables and speaking to the dead.

Antoine Lavoisier – French chemist whose work was crucial during the chemical revolution in France. Known as the Father of Chemistry for his discovery of oxygen. 

Marie-Anne Lavoisier – French chemist and wife of Antoine Lavoisier. Known as the Mother of Chemistry 

Louis Antoine de Saint-Just – French legislator and Jacobin leader during the French Revolution. 

Marie Anne Lenormand – Professional French fortune teller. She was very famous during the Napoleonic era.

Character Breakdown:

NICLAS KOPERNIK, 18, Polish astronomy student

HYPATIA, ageless Egyptian scientist

MARIA PAULA, 18, Polish postulant nun

PIERRE CURIE, 45, French scientist

MARIE CURIE, 37, Polish scientist

SAPIA (EUSAPIA PALLADINO), 51, Italian conjurer

ANTOINE LAVOISIER, 50, French scientist

MARIE-ANNE LAVOISIER, 36, French scientist

LOUIS SAINT-JUST, 26, French politician

NANOU (MARIE-ANNE LENORMAND), 21, French fortune teller 

The play may be performed with a cast of 4 actors: 

Mature female actor: HYPATIA, MARIE, MARIE-ANNE

Young female actor: MARIA PAULA, SAPIA, NANOU

Mature male actor: PIERRE, ANTOINE

Young male actor: NICLAS, LOUIS 

(Character Breakdown provided by play text)

Setting:

Scene 1. HYPATIA. 1491. A student’s lodging at the University of Kraków, Poland. 

The stars move across the sky in an orderly fashion. But sometimes the planets stop and go backwards! This doesn’t make sense to young Niclas Kopernik. He seeks help from Hypatia, an astronomer who lived a thousand years earlier. 

Scene 2. MARIE CURIE. 1905. Psychological Institute, Paris. 

Marie Curie prides herself in being a rational scientist. Unfortunately, her husband has fallen under the spell of a notorious “medium”. To protect Pierre’s reputation, Marie must expose the fraud. 

Scene 3. MARIE-ANNE LAVOISIER. May 8, 1794. A cell in the Conciergerie Prison, Paris. 

The Reign of Terror is at its height. Antoine Lavoisier, “The Father of Chemistry,” is facing the guillotine. Marie-Anne, his wife and laboratory partner, desperately tries to save his life. 

(Setting provided by play text)

Time Period: 1491, 1905, 1794

Synopsis of Play: Hypatia, Marie Curie and Marie-Anne Lavoisier use their wits to save the day.

(Synopsis provided by play text)

Performance History: Female Scientists to the Rescue is a collection of short plays, each having individual productions. 

Zany Planets was first produced as a staged reading as part of the New Play Contest at The Chameleon Theatre Circle in 2016. Since then it has been produced as readings at the ICRL Playwriting Competition in New Jersey and at the Crafton Hills New Works Festival in California. 

Table in the Air premiered in 2019 as a workshop and reading at the Playwright’ Studio in Glasgow, Scotland. Also in 2019, it was awarded 3rd place  at Smith and Kraus’ Best 10 Minute Plays of 2019 Competition. 

Mother of Chemistry is yet to be produced.

Links:

https://www.rexmcgregor.com/mother-of-chemistry.html

https://www.rexmcgregor.com/zany-planets.html

https://www.rexmcgregor.com/table-in-the-air.html

https://www.rexmcgregor.com/female-scientists-to-the-rescue.html

Entered by: Anna Galanides

Photo/Visual Research with citations

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