Playwright Open Call: Science at Play

Dates or Deadline: 
15 September 2020 to 15 October 2020
United States

Science at Play

Tri-Valley Theater Company Pairs Artists and Scientists of Color for New Commission

Albert Einstein famously wrote, “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. So the unknown, the mysterious, is where art and science meet.” During this time of great uncertainty, Livermore Shakespeare Festival aims to electrify the public narrative using performance to illuminate, clarify and amplify the scientific process through a public art project called “Science at Play.”

With the ‘mystery of science’ literally trending, Livermore Shakespeare Festival is leading a movement to bring the scientific process to life through literature and performance. Their program “Science at Play” aims to enhance the public’s awareness and trust in science and technology and to highlight and provide opportunities for writers, directors, actors and scientists, especially of color. The one-year program will begin with live-streamed productions of known science-related plays like David Auburn’s Proof and Michael Frayn’s Copenhagen. LSF will also commission a playwright of color to write a new play, one which will educate the public about the COVID-19 crisis and ways that scientists are using science and data to combat and develop a vaccine. The playwright will partner with LLNL and Sandia National Lab scientists actively engaged in this process. A Request for Qualifications is going out nationwide. There is a $6,000 commission available for the qualified candidate.

Leading the project will be Livermore Shakespeare Festival’s Resident Director, Michael Wayne Rice, who has acted and directed in over 30 productions in Missouri, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Michael is currently working with Livermore Shakes as part of a Theatre Bay Area and National Endowment for the Arts Diversity Fellowship. Mr. Rice has also acted in several LSF productions over the years, and recently directed last year’s thought-provoking production of Shakespeare’s Othello. Assisting Mr. Rice will be Lisa A. Tromovitch, the Founding Artistic Director of Livermore Shakespeare Festival, and tenured professor in Media X at the University of the Pacific. Also assisting Mr. Rice as science advisors will be Lawrence Lagin, who is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Livermore Shakes, and Alicia Calonico Soto who is a Director and Founder of the Hispanic Heritage Center. Lagin retired in 2014 as NIF Deputy Project Manager at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) after a 40-year career as a scientist, engineer, science outreach program founder and science project manager. Alicia Calonico Soto is currently employed as a LLNL engineer.

Scientists will advise the playwright and present science-related talks and demonstrations for the public. Tony Baylis, Livermore National Laboratory’s Director for the Office of Strategic Diversity and Inclusion Programs and Joanna Albala, Science Education Program Manager have volunteered to assist with connecting scientists and artists for the project.

“Art illuminates. With the uncertainty of live gatherings still looming, this is a moment for arts organizations to enlighten their audiences and contribute to a global narrative by showcasing the minds and spirits of the folks in the middle of today’s scientific breakthroughs,” added Tromovitch. Livermore Shakespeare Festival is a non-profit arts and arts education organization operating in the Tri-Valley for the past 19 years.