How does science fit into theatrical productions, and how do scientists respond to theatrical representations of science?
Faculty member in Biological Sciences and Chemistry at Louisiana State University Vince LiCata, who also blogs on World’s Fair, not only got to attend the American Association for the Advancement of Science 2010 meeting in San Diego last week, he organized and chaired a session called “Science in the Theatre” (although the AAAS changed “theatre” to “theater” in all the speakers’ abstracts).
I invited Carl Djerassi from Stanford, Lauren Gunderson, a professional playwright, and Brian Schwartz, a physics professor at City University of New York who also runs their Science and the Arts Program, which features dozens of cross-disciplinary performances each semester.
I introduced the session with some “open questions” about Science in the Theatre – questions that those of us involved in writing science plays are continuously grappling with: How much science can one put in a play and still have a good play? How didactic or pedagogical should a science play be? Do plays written by or with scientists differ from science plays written by “regular playwrights’?