It is Paris, 1738, and the Royal Academy of Sciences has just announced their annual contest-“prove or refute that there is wisdom and design behind the seeming randomness of the universe.”
Play title: Great Men of Science Nos. 21 and 22
Author (s): Glen Berger
Publisher: Broadway Play Publishing Inc.
Publication Date: 2007
Primary Discipline: Physics
Secondary Discipline: Biology
Jacques de Vaucanson – 1709-1782, French engineer and inventors of automaton devices ‘The Flute Player’, ‘The Tambourine Player’, and ‘The Duck’.
Emilie du Chatelet – In 1730’s France, Châtelet was a French natural philosopher and mathematician.
Le Cat, Claude-Nicolas – Famous physician during the French Revolution. In 1736, he opened a school of surgery in Rouen.
Lazzaro Spallanzani – 1729-1799, Italian physiologist who specialized in the study of bodily functions and animal reproduction.
Jean Condorcet – 1743-1794, French Enlightenment philosopher, mathematician, and political scientist. During his life, he was an advocate for educational reform and women’s rights.
Character Breakdown: Goddess of Reason, Émilie du Châtelet, Jacques de Vaucanson, Lazarro Spallanzani, Abbe, Le Cat, Citizens and Housekeeper.
Time Period : 1738 & 1794
Synopsis of Play: It is Paris, 1738, and the Royal Academy of Sciences has just announced their annual contest-“prove or refute that there is wisdom and design behind the seeming randomness of the universe.” Jacques de Vaucanson shall prove it, and thereby win the heart of Gabrielle du Châtelet by constructing the first biologically accurate automata the world has ever seen-a clockwork duck, that flaps its wings, eats, and excretes…just like a duck. A half-century later, the Reign of Terror in full swing, Lazarro Spallanzani labors to complete his one last experiment, if only his long-suffering housekeeper would stop distracting him.
First Performance Date: March 19, 1998
First Producer: Circle X Theatre, Los Angeles
Performance History: The production received a Theater LA Ovation Award for Best Production in a small theater, two LA Weekly Awards for Production of The Year and Playwright. Jillian Armenante directed the world premiere at Circle X Theatre in Los Angeles. The production received a Theatre L.A. Ovation Award for “Best Production in a 99 seat theatre” and The L.A. Weekly Award for Best Production
Entered by : Denise Gillman/ Brooke Sanders