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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Photograph 51 at Theater J



A Rare 'Photo' at Theater J
Theater J's engaging and well-acted new play, Photograph 51, opened Monday night. It's a fine production about a relatively unknown subject. Rosalind Franklin was a famous scientist who lived too short and never got the attention she deserved. In 1953, she arranged a transfer to JD Bernal's crystallography laboratory at Birkbeck College in London. She focused on the structure of plant viruses, working with (and providing the key photograph for) a group of men, one of whom, Maurice Wilkins, went on to win a Nobel Prize. The play's 90 minutes move briskly as all performers stay on the stage and leave it to the lighting to give them the spotlight. Theater J is on quite a roll these days. I attended their production of The Chosen at Arena Stage on Sunday night and all 680 seats were sold!  Head man Ari Roth is now a professor so students show up at many of his performances, and he's always a friendly presence - even the night I saw the play, when he had to speaking knowing that a close friend, playwright Lanford Wilson, had died earlier that day.


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