Two brilliant women, centuries apart, push the boundaries of science while grappling with motherhood in San Jose Repertory Theatre's production of Legacy of Light, by Karen Zacarías. DC Theatre Scene calls this adventurous comedy "... an intellectual joyride ... a wonderful play, well worth seeing." Legacy of Light is directed by Kirsten Brandt, and will run at the San Jose Rep from March 24 through April 17, 2011. Pay What You Will Night is Thursday, March 24 at 8 p.m. Press Opening Night is Wednesday, March 30, at 8 p.m.
Tickets are available at the San Jose Rep Box Office at 101 Paseo de San Antonio or can be purchased online at www.SJRep.com or by calling 408.367.7255.
Physicist Émilie du Châtelet, a young poet and lover of famous French philosopher Voltaire, worries about her fate after she unexpectedly becomes pregnant. Driven by fear and ambition, she races to publish her theories based on Sir Isaac Newton's Laws of Motion. Meanwhile, 260 years in the future, accomplished astrophysicist Olivia and her husband Peter want to conceive but cannot. Olivia's attention turns to her new "child," a planet she's discovered in the midst of hiring a quirky and free-spirited surrogate. Two women, linked together by scientific legacy and maternal instincts, ask: Does the birth of a child ultimately mean as much to the world as the birth of an idea?
"I love plays that are not afraid to tackle the big existential questions, yet find wonderful new ways to entertain and tickle us at the same time," says San Jose Rep's Artistic Director Rick Lombardo. "But it's all too rare to find a new play that manages this difficult feat with the
elegance, wit and delight I found in Karen Zacarías' new play when I first read it. From the creation of human life to the creation of new planets and the universe, Karen keeps a dizzying number of plates spinning in the air. I am so pleased that San Jose Rep will be introducing this new work in its West Coast Premiere."
A new play by Zacarías, Legacy of Light had its premiere in Washington, D.C., in 2009. In her review of the play's premiere, Rosalind Lacy said: "I left the theater levitating, believing that even miracles are possible. Let's hope Zacarías keeps our local theaters alive and well, humming with the creative energy of her magical touch. Legacy of Light is a wonderful play, well worth seeing."
Legacy of Light juxtaposes two eras, each with its own beliefs and attitudes towards physical science and the function of woman in society. A Stanford University graduate, Zacarías lightens what could be a compare-and-contrast exercise with magical realism and a deft feel for emotional nuance. The play received the American Theatre Critics Association "Best New Play" Award in 2010.
Playwright Karen Zacarías had stumbled across a footnote referring to Émilie du Châtelet while researching Einstein Is a Dummy, a children's play premiered by the ALLIANCE THEATRE in Atlanta. Looking a little further into du Châtelet's life, Zacarías discovered that the French scientist had developed some of her most influential insights during a pregnancy late in life.
That fact seemed particularly resonant when Zacarías discovered she was pregnant with her third child. But just before giving birth, she received a commission from Arena Stage, a prestigious company in Washington, D.C., and she realized her creative life was not about to grind to a halt. Arena Stage presented the World Premiere of Legacy of Light in 2009.
The cast of Legacy of Light
Rachel Harker (ÉMILIE DU CHÂTELET) recently played Her Ladyship in San Jose Rep's production of The Dresser and Amanda in Rep on Tour's production of The Glass Menagerie. Off-Broadway, she was Lois Wilson in Bill W. and Dr. Bob. In the Boston area, Ms. Harker won the Elliot Norton and the IRNE awards for her portrayal of Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire at New Repertory Theatre. She also won the IRNE for her work in Harold Pinter's Ashes to Ashes and The Lover at New Repertory Theatre, as well as The Cutting at Stoneham Theatre. Other productions include Lend Me a Tenor at Lyric Stage, Sherlock's Last Case at American Stage Festival and Amanda in Private Lives at The Public Theatre, Lewiston, Maine. Film work includes Disney's The Game Plan, The Invention of Lying, Don MacKay and The Legend of Lucy Keyes.