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Saturday, May 3, 2014
4:00 pm
Cahill, Hameetman Auditorium – Cahill Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics

MACH 33 Play Reading: They Promised Her the Moon

By Laurel Ollstein

NASA 1960: Thirteen accomplished women pilots pass the grueling NASA tests for astronauts, and when LIFE magazine gets ahold of the story a few of the women shine as minor celebrities heading for space. Yet it would be twenty more years before Sally Ride blasts off in Challenger 3. They Promised Her the Moon tells the true story of Jerrie Cobb who for a short, thrilling time thought that she would be the first female astronaut in space.

Award-winning actor and playwright Laurel Ollstein received the Faith Broome Playwright-in-Residence award at the University of Oklahoma, which commissioned and produced an earlier version of They Promised Her the Moon. The play will be directed by Brenda Varda, founding member and Artistic Director of Wordspace, a studio for writing classes, workshops, and events in Los Angeles.

About MACH 33

MACH 33: The Festival of New Science-Driven Plays at Caltech is a project of Theater Arts at Caltech. Under the direction of Brian Brophy, head of Theater Arts, MACH 33 has grown out of a passion to bring together science and art at Caltech. MACH 33 fosters compelling dialogues on scientific, mathematical, and technological questions by staging readings of new, unpublished plays by Los Angeles-area playwrights. Since 2013, the festival has offered artistic and very human experiences that capture our moral imagination and deepen public conversations and curiosity about science. The readings, by casts including Caltech students, faculty, staff, and other members of the Caltech/JPL/Huntington community, are open to the public and include post-show discussions with the playwrights. Each season, one play is selected for its world premiere in the following year as a fully staged production at Caltech.

Why "MACH 33?" The "escape velocity" is the speed needed to break free from the gravitational attraction of a massive body. On the surface of Earth, the escape velocity is about 11.2 kilometers per second, or approximately 33 times the speed of sound: Mach 33. Our name thus celebrates the innovative, dynamic breakthroughs that scientists and artists achieve.

Through our performances and post-show discussions, MACH 33 strives to:

  • Challenge and broaden the view of science, mathematics, and technology in the popular imagination
  • Make science feel more alive, exciting, and tangible
  • Deepen our emotional responses to science and scientific inquiries
  • Activate new ways of imagining the science all around us
  • Strengthen personal connections to the scientists, engineers, and mathematicians who shape our world

Staged readings of three exciting new plays are performed in Hameetman Auditorium in Caltech's Cahill Center for Astrophysics, 1216 E. California Blvd. Suggested donations are $10, and $2 for students.

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