Published on 23.10.12
Irish acting stars bring science to life
CRANN brought science to life with a staged reading of a new play which starred a host of Irish acting greats, including Lorcan Cranitch, Simon Delaney, Rosaleen Linehan, Pauline McLynn, Hugh O’Conor, Marcella Plunkett and Killian Scott. The reading of "Ear to the Edge of Time" by Australian playwright Alana Valentine was very well received on Sunday 21st October in the Samuel Beckett Theatre, TCD.
Ear to the Edge of Time is the winner of the 5th STAGE International Script Competition for the best new play about science and technology. In Valentine’s play, a contemporary radio astronomer faces a desperate crisis about gender politics, attribution, and the role of team work in 21st century science. The play deals with the fascinating machinations of astronomical physics, as well as the dilemmas, compromises, and culture that are part of scientific discovery.
STAGE - Scientists, Technologists and Artists Generating Exploration - housed at the California NanoSystems Institute at the University of California, Santa Barbara, runs every two years and aims to identify the best new play about science and technology worldwide. STAGE came to Dublin as a result of the efforts of CRANN, the Science Foundation Ireland funded nanoscience institute at Trinity College Dublin, and as part of Dublin City of Science 2012.
The STAGE award is coveted among playwrights for the prestige and opportunities it brings, as well as for its sizeable $10,000 prize. Chair of CRANN’s Scientific Advisory Board, Dr David Awschalom and Director of the California NanoSystems Institute presented the award to Ms.Valentine prior to the performance on Sunday 21st. Director of STAGE, Nancy Kawalek said “Out of the hundreds of script submissions the STAGE Competition received from a dozen countries, we’re proud to be presenting the top prize to Alana Valentine. Her play, EAR TO THE EDGE OF TIME, concerns the human side of being a scientist in a very truthful and compelling way; it's beautifully written. It was terrific to be able to work with some of Ireland's top actors on this project. I was tremendously impressed by their talent.”
On receiving the award on Sunday, Ms. Valentine thanked STAGE for a “singular and potentially career-defining win”. She also acknowledged the generosity of the judges in giving their time to boost the excellence of science-focused playwriting along with the CSIRO, the Australia Council for the Arts and the many astronomy Professors and Doctors who assisted with her research, “I feel as if STAGE is jet fuel under my playwriting aspirations.”
Valentine’s play was selected by a world-class panel of judges: Pulitzer Prize-winning playwrights Tony Kushner, David Lindsay-Abaire and Donald Margulies; Nobel Laureates Robert C. Richardson and Frank Wilczek; and winner of the U.S. National Medal of Science and the Franklin Medal, Dr. David J. Wineland.
Congratulating Ms. Valentine on her award, Dr. Diarmuid O’Brien, Executive Director of CRANN, said, “Ear to the Edge of Time brings science to life through art, and we congratulate Alana Valentine on winning the STAGE competition. STAGE is the perfect fusion of art and science, and the fact that Dublin was chosen to host the winning performance is a real celebration of our successes in these areas and is also the perfect complement to the Dublin City of Science Festival.”
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