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A funny and moving portrait of the unrequited life of Rosalind Franklin, one of the great female scientists of the twentieth century, and her fervid drive to map the contours of the DNA molecule. A chorus of physicists relives the chase, revealing the unsung achievements of this trail-blazing, fiercely independent woman. A play about ambition, isolation, and the race for greatness.
About the Author
Anna Ziegler’s play PHOTOGRAPH 51, produced on the West End starring Nicole Kidman and directed by Michael Grandage, won London’s 2016 WhatsOnStage award for Best New Play. It has been produced around the world, most recently in Hamburg, Rome, and Stockholm. Her new play ACTUALLY, was produced in 2017 at The Geffen Playhouse (where it was nominated for six Ovation Awards, including Best Production and Best Play), The Williamstown Theatre Festival and The Manhattan Theatre Club. THE LAST MATCH, which played the Roundabout Theatre in 2017, premiered at The Old Globe Theatre and was nominated for the 2016 San Diego Theatre Critics Circle Outstanding New Play award. BOY, which premiered off-Broadway in a Keen Company/Ensemble Studio Theatre co-production, was nominated for the 2016 Outer Critics Circle John Gassner Award, and will be produced at TimeLine Theatre in Chicago in 2018. THE WANDERERS, commissioned by The Old Globe Theatre, will premiere there in 2018. A DELICATE SHIP was produced at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park and The Playwrights Realm and was a New York Times and Time Out Critic’s Pick. Anna holds commissions from Second Stage Theatre, The Roundabout, The Geffen Playhouse and Seattle Rep. She is developing a television series for HBO based on her play ACTUALLY, another for AMC/Sundance, and is at work on a screenplay for Scott Free Productions. More information can be found at her website:www.annabziegler.net
"Among the many virtues of Anna Ziegler's…satisfying PHOTOGRAPH 51 is the refusal to soften the woman at its center, the British scientist Rosalind Franklin, by making her anything other than formidably, even self-sabotagingly, intelligent…[The play] offers multiple insights into the sad and honorable secrets of one particular life." —NY Times. "What playwright Anna Ziegler has achieved in her intriguing portrait of the British scientist Rosalind Franklin is a remarkable balance of scientific subject matter and theatrical storytelling…a play that glows with intelligence and humanity. This is a complex story filled with complex characters that Ziegler tells with clarity and economy. It's a pleasure to be in the presence of such assured writing. She gives full weight to Franklin's achievement without allowing the play to become a feminist tract or turning Franklin's thieving male cohorts and competitors into dyed-in-the-wool villains. This tale of a lone, wondrous woman amidst a casual conspiracy of men makes for compelling theater…Dr. Rosalind Franklin deserves greater fame, just as this play about her deserves a wider audience." —BackStage. "[A] smartly crafted history play…[The script is] brisk and knowing…steadily entertaining…and the play feels like it's constantly on the move…The reflections that gradually color PHOTOGRAPH 51 deal with the eternal human mystery of why people act as they do—the very stuff of drama, of course, and a far less solvable riddle than that of the DNA structure these characters stalk." —Washington Post. "The play…honors Franklin's achievements and rues her relative obscurity, but it also returns to her the ambiguities and complexities that a real human being deserves…The play presents Franklin as a prickly and strong-willed woman who was sabotaged by her own personality: Distrustful of her colleagues and aware of her outsider status as a Jewish woman, she refused to collaborate with Watson and Crick…If she had been willing to fraternize with the other scientists, could she have reached the double helix first? On the other hand, would a woman with a more accommodating spirit have gotten as far as Franklin did? PHOTOGRAPH 51 does Franklin the honor of raising these questions, but not trying to answer them." —Discover. "Who knew science could make for such terrific theatre?" —New Scientist.