Share this:
Saturday, May 4, 2013
6:00 pm
off campus

TESLA: A Radio Play for the Stage

The story of the famous eclectic inventor Nikola Tesla staged as a radio drama with live sound effects.

The Experimental Performance Laboratory at Caltech and The Pasadena Playhouse present Tesla, a radio play for the stage. Directed by acclaimed Los Angeles director Michael Arabian with live sound effects by the SFX artist Tony Palermo, Tesla will run for one day only on the Mainstage of The Pasadena Playhouse, Saturday May 4th, 6:00pm.

Special guest stars include Phil Proctor ("Big Brother," Toy Story) as Thomas Edison; French Stewart ("3rd Rock from the Sun," Stoneface) as Tesla; Sandra Tsing Loh (Caltech alum and NPR's "The Loh Life") as Katherine; Dr. Ashley Stroupe (JPL Mars Rover Opportunity Driver), playing multiple roles; Dr. Steven Collins (JPL Mars Rover Curiosity Engineer), playing multiple roles; and Brian Brophy ("Star Trek: The Next Generation," director of Theater Arts at Caltech), playing multiple roles.

Tesla tells the story of Nikola Tesla's life as a brilliant but controversial inventor and futurist during the late-19th and early-20th century. The play is excitingly staged as a radio drama featuring live sound effects. Tesla's volatile relationship with Thomas Edison, his allegiance with George Westinghouse, and his confrontation with the power brokers of American business are recounted from the perspective of the possible implications of his work to national security.

"A partnership with The Pasadena Playhouse and Caltech is the perfect synergy of Science and Art," says TACIT Director Brian Brophy. "When my friends director Michael Arabian and Elizabeth Doran, the new Executive Director at the Playhouse, decided to come on board, everything came together. This project is unique because it features actors from the multi-talented Caltech/JPL community alongside professional actors from the theater and film world. The staging will be intriguing to Pasadena audiences as it is a rare opportunity to see a radio drama with multiple voices, archival footage, and live sound effects."

Playwright Dan Duling is an award-winning playwright, author of more than 20 plays, and the scriptwriter for the Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach.

Director Michael Arabian is well-known to Los Angeles area audiences, and most recently directed Waiting for Godot at the Mark Taper Forum.

A post-show conversation and reception with the playwright, actors, and director will follow the performance. 

Tesla is showing for one day only on Saturday, May 4th, at 6:00 p.m. at The Pasadena Playhouse Main Stage, at 39 S. El Molino Ave, Pasadena, CA 91101.

Proceeds from the event directly support Theater Arts at Caltech.


The staged reading of Tesla kicks off the second year of the Experimental Performance Laboratory at Caltech's New Plays Festival, a series of four staged readings of new science-based plays.

Out of Orbit by Jennifer Maisel is the second play in the series on May 11, directed by Ann K Lindsey. Out of Orbit tells the story of a Mars Rover Mission Specialist at Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), played by Dr. Ashley Stroupe, a "real-life" JPL Mars Rover Driver. Can a brilliant scientist relate to a learning deficiency in her daughter? Can she keep up with her life on two different planets?

Sila by Chantal Bilodeau is the third play of the series on May 18, directed by Arden Thomas. Sila stars Sandra Tsing Loh, host of The Loh Down on Science and NPR's The Loh Life. Sila is a powerful, gripping, and poetic play about climate change and its consequences for the people and animals living in the Arctic Circle.

The Washing of Water by Marcus Renner is the final play in the series on June 1, directed by TACIT artistic director Brian Brophy. The Washing of Water is based on over 60 interviews conducted across Altadena, La Cañada Flintridge, and Northwest Pasadena. The Washing of Water follows an artist activist, a homeless teenager, and a mother whose stories intersect as they fight a polluted past and search for a fresh start amidst the wilds of the Hahamongna Watershed Park.

See www.tacit.caltech.edu for more information about the New Plays Festival.

For tickets and information, visit Pasadena Playhouse Box Office.
Ticket price: $20 in advance; pay-what-you-can at the door.
Add this event to my calendar