NEW YORK: Ensemble Studio Theatre (EST) and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation have announced the lineup for the 2021 First Light Festival, to be held virtually from Feb. 25 to March 29. The festival will feature public presentations of plays in progress from the EST/Sloan Project, a commission to develop plays about science and technology.
The festival will begin with a reading of Circumstances Affecting the Heat of the Sun’s Rays by Amanda Quaid on Feb. 25. The play follows amateur scientist Eunice Foote as she researches rising levels of carbon dioxide.
The next play in the festival will be Henry Makes a Bible by AJ Clauss on March 1, which follows two college students, Henry and Henry, as they create the world’s most famous medical textbook in 1850.
Following will be Mary Elizabeth Hamilton’s Smart (March 4), the story of a tech support worker who grows infatuated with a virtual home assistant.
Next up will be Lemuria (March 10) by Bonnie Antosh, a queer King Lear set in a lemur lab in North Carolina.
Following will be Jake Brasch’s The Reservoir on March 22. The play follows a twentysomething struggling with memory loss who moves back home to get sober.
The last reading in the festival will be Phaedra Michelle Scott’s Good Hair on March 29. Good Hair tangles together the lives of women through three timelines.
Additionally, the festival will also feature invite-only presentations of the works in progress Pō e Ao [darkness & light] by Susan Soon He Stanton; Beyond Words by Laura Maria Censabella; and Las Borinqueñas by Nelson Diaz-Marcano.
EST is encouraging festival attendees to donate to Black Girls Do STEM, a nonprofit that works to diversify innovation to empower Black girls to pursue STEM careers through scholarship, training, and mentorship.
The EST/Sloan Project has developed hundreds of new plays that question and broaden the view of science in the popular imagination since 1998.
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