1939: Fascism spreads across Europe, Franco marches on Barcelona and two German chemists discover the processes of atomic fission. In Berkeley, California, theoretical physicists recognize the horrendous potential of this new science; a weapon that draws its power from the very building blocks of the universe.
Play title: Oppenheimer
Author (s): Tom Morton-Smith
Publisher: Oberon Books (London)
Publication Date: 2015
Primary Discipline: Physics
Secondary Discipline: Atomic Energy
Edward Teller : theoretical physicist; father of hydrogen bomb
Haakon Chevalier : author and translator; close friend of J. Robert Oppenheimer
Richard Feynman : theoretical physicist and professor
Joe Weinberg : physicist and professor; “Scientist X” from spying for USSR
Paul Tibbets : brigadier general in Air Force; piloted the plane that dropped A-bomb on Hiroshima
Kenneth Nichols : PH.D in hydraulic engineering; managed Manhattan Project and Atomic Energy Commission
Ruth Tolman : clinical psychologist, writer, professor; affair with J. Robert Oppenheimer
Jackie Oppenheimer : studied economics; first wife of Frank Oppenheimer
Charlotte Serber : head librarian of Los Alamos; husband worked with J. Robert Oppenheimer
General Leslie Groves : lieutenant general; director of Manhattan Project
Frank Oppenheimer : particle physicist; bother to J. Robert Oppenheimer; founder of Exploratorium
Klaus Fuchs : theoretical physicist; german spy for USSR
Richard Harrison : space physics
J Robert Oppenheimer : theoretical physicist; father of atomic bomb at Los Alamos
Robert Wilson : physicist; recruited by J. Robert Oppenheimer
Giovanni Rossi Lomanitz : theoretical physicist; worked with J. Robert Oppenheimer
Peer Da Silva : station chief for CIA; security official for Manhattan Engineering Project
Hans Bethe : studied as theoretical physicist; became Nobel Prize winning astrophysicist for nuclear reactors
Kitty Puening Harrison : botanist; wife and confidant of J. Robert Oppenheimer
Jean Tatlock : psychologist; lover to J. Robert Oppenheimer
Luis Alvarez : experimental physicist; MIT Radiation Laboratory
Bob Serber : physicist; introduced new scientists to the Manhattan Project; supported A-bomb
Einstein : theoretical physicist; Nobel Prize for photoelectric effect
Source Texts: Unknown
Character Breakdown: 15 men, 5 women
Edward Teller, Haakon Chevalier/Richard Feynman, Little Boy, Joe Weinberg/Paul Tibbets, Kenneth Nichols, Ruth Tolman, Jackie Oppenheimer, Charlotte Serber, General Leslie Groves, Frank Oppenheimer, Klaus Fuchs/Richard Harrison, J Robert Oppenheimer, Robert Wilson, Giovanni Rossi Lomanitz, Peer Da Silva, Hans Bethe, Kitty Puening Harrison, Jean Tatlock, Luis Alvarez/Doctor, and Bob Serber/Einstein.
Time Period: 1940s & 1950s roughly
Synopsis of Play: 1939: Fascism spreads across Europe, Franco marches on Barcelona and two German chemists discover the processes of atomic fission. In Berkeley, California, theoretical physicists recognize the horrendous potential of this new science; a weapon that draws its power from the very building blocks of the universe.
Struggling to cast off his radical past and thrust into a position of power and authority, the ambitious and charismatic J Robert Oppenheimer races to win the ‘battle of the laboratories’ and create a weapon so devastating that it would bring about an end not just to the Second World War but to all war. (Play text cover blurb, Oberon Modern Plays)
First Performance Date: Swan Theater in January, 2015.
First Producer: Royal Shakespeare Company
Performance History: Swan Theater in January of 2015. NIMAX Vaudeville Theatre, London on March 27th, 2015.
Oppenheimer by Tom Morton-Smith was first produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, on 15 January 2015. This production transferred to the NIMAX Vaudeville Theatre, London on 27 March 2015. Directed by Angus Jackson. Designed by Robert Innes Hopkins. Lighting Design by Paul Anderson. Music by Grant Olding. Sound Design by Christopher Shutt. Choreography by Scott Ambler. Video Design by Karl Dixon. Dramaturgy by Pippa Hill. Company Text and Voice Work by Michael Elliott. Dialect Coach was Michaela Kennen. Assistant Director was Alexander Lass. Music Director was Jonathan Williams.
Entered by: Denise Gillman/Brooke Sanders