In 1714 the English Parliament offered a prize of L20,000 to whoever could solve the problem of identifying longitude accurately and reliably at sea.
Play Title Longitude
Author Arnold Weskler
Publisher Amber Lane Press Ltd
Publication Date 2006
Primary Discipline Geography
Secondary Discipline Technology
Dr. Edmond Halley: Astronomer; Member of Astronomers Royal
Martin Folkes- President of the Royal Society, Astronomer and Mathematician
Sir Kenelm Digby: Diplomat interested in alchemy and astrology
Rev. Nevil Maskelyne: Astronomer; Member of Astronomers Royal
William Ludlam: Mathematician
Dr. Demainbray: Swiss tutor of George III; Keeper of the Royal Observatory
Source Texts Based on the book ‘Longitude’ by Dava Sobel
Character Breakdown 9 men, 1 woman
John Harrison, Elizabeth Harrison, William Harrison, Lord Egmont, Lord Morton, Rev. Nevil Maskelyne, Commissioner, Martin Folkes/ Sir Kenelm Digby/ Thomas King/ George III, Dr. Edmond Halley/ William Ludlam/ Dr. Demainbray, and George Graham/ Roger Wills/ Larcum Kendall
Time Period 1714
Synopsis of Play In 1714 the English Parliament offered a prize of L20,000 to whoever could solve the problem of identifying longitude accurately and reliably at sea. Several scientists took up the challenge by pursuing the lunar method, imagining it was impossible to invent a clock that could withstand the sea’s rocking and accompanying changes of temperature. Only a self-educated carpenter turner clockmaker from Lincolnshire, John Harrison, dared challenge the lunar scientists and invent the perfect chronometer.
Undoubtedly a genius, John Harrison was a prickly and combative character. In their dealings with him the members of the Board of Longitude – the ‘priests and professors’ as he dubbed them – spent over forty years discovering how stubborn he could be. (Play text cover blurb, Amber Lane Press)
First Performance Date October 10, 2005
First Producer Green and Lenagan
Performance History Longitude by Arnold Wesker had its world premiere at the Greenwich Theatre, London, on October 10, 2005, starring Anthony O’Donnell as John Harrison, Mossie Smith as Elizabeth Harrison, Hadley Fraser as William Harrison, Nick Tigg as Lord Egmont, Mark Meadows as Lord Morton, Giles Taylor as Rev. Nevil Maskelyne, Kieran Hill as Commissioner, Dominic Marsh as Martin Folkes/ Sir Kenelm Digby/ Thomas King/ George III, Christopher Staines as Dr. Demainbray/ Dr. Edmond Halley/ William Ludlam, and James Thorne as George Graham/ Roger Wills/ Larcum Kendall. Directed by Fiona Laird. Designed by Anthony Lamble. Lighting Design by Ian Scott. Composed by Paul Englishby. Sound Design by Neil Fulcher.
Entered by: Sara Oliver/ Theron Duitsman