by Carl Dejerassi and Roald Hoffmann

Pasant Theatre
Wharton Center for Performing Arts
September 27 – 29, 2002

“Science in Theatre” may be seem to be a contradiction, but it shouldn’t. A common topic in theatre is the conflict between human aspiration and human behavior. The men and women who pursue science aspire to the loftiest goals – to understand, on the most profound levels, the physical world the rest of us merely experience and enjoy. And like all human beings who aspire, the high purposes of their dreams are often in conflict with their actions.

So it is with the men and women who populate this play. Who discovered oxygen? As it turns out, this is not a simple question and the scientist who claim the distinction were all too human in their desire to be recognized as first. What does it mean to discover something? Should we understand the full implications of that discovery in order to claim credit? Is that ever possible? Knowledge is, after all, an incremental process which is never complete. To what do we owe the people on whose ideas we build our own discoveries?

These are the questions at the heart of “Oxygen”. They are just as relevant today as they were in 1777 when Joseph Priestly, Carl Scheele and Antoine Lavoisier sought both knowledge and fame. They are relevant not just to scientists, but all of us in the human community.

Production Team

Director:Mary Job
Choreography:Dr. Dixie Durr
Scene Design:Roger Funk
Costume Design:Karen Kangas-Preston
Lighting Design:Danielle M. Baisden
Sound Design:Charles Krey
Scenic Artist:Kirk Domer
Technical Director:Mark Hoffland
Costume Shop Supervisor:Karen Kangas-Preston
Production Stage Manager:Erin A. Haggerty
Assistant Director:Terrance Tatum
Assistant Lighting Designer:Jonathan T. Sage

Cast List

Marie LavoisierChristiane Morel
Mary PriestlyMonica Clark-Robinson
Sara Margaretha PohlSarah Faix
Carl Wilhelm Scheele/Sune KallsteniusAndrew Towler
Antoine Lavoisier/Bengt HjalmarssonBill Henson
Joseph Priestly/Ulf SvanholmR. Scott Cantrell
Astrid RosenqvistJulia Lenardon
Ulla ZornRachel M. Roberts