On Stage


Photograph 51 

March 23 - April 24

A New Play by Anna Ziegler
Directed by Daniella Topol

Designed by Dan Covey, HannaH J. Crowell, Luciana Stecconi, Giorgos Tsappas and Veronika Vorel

Featuring: Elizabeth Rich
With Clinton Brandhagen, James Flanagan, Tim Getman, Michael Glenn and Alexander Strain

A funny and moving portrait of the unrequited life of Rosalind Franklin, one of the great female scientists of the 20th 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 the trail-blazing, fiercely independent woman whose stunning discoveries included the beating of her own romantic heart.  This home-grown work was winner of the 2008 Stage International Script Competition for Best New Play About Science & Technology.  

Meet Rosalind Franklin

Rosalind Elsie Franklin (25 July 1920 – 16 April 1958) was a British biophysicist, physicist, chemist, biologist and X-ray crystallographer who made important contributions to the understanding of the fine molecular structures of DNA, RNA, viruses, coal and graphite.

Franklin is still best known for her work on the X-ray diffraction images of DNA. Her data, according to Francis Crick, was "the data we actually used"[1] to formulate Crick and Watson's 1953 hypothesis regarding the structure of DNA.[2] Furthermore, unpublished drafts of her papers (written as she was arranging to leave the unsupportive research situation at King's College London) show that she had indeed determined the overall B-form of the DNA helix. However, her work was published third, in the series of three DNA Nature articles, led by the paper of Watson and Crick which only vaguely acknowledged her evidence in support of their hypothesis.[3] The possibility that Franklin played a major role was not revealed until Watson wrote his personal account, The Double Helix,[4] in 1968 which subsequently inspired several people to investigate DNA history and Franklin's contribution. The first, Robert Olby's "The Path to the Double Helix", supplied information about original source materials for those that followed.[5] After finishing her portion of the DNA work, Franklin led pioneering work on the tobacco mosaic and polio viruses.   LEARN MORE




Photograph 51 was originally commissioned and produced by Active Cultures, the vernacular theatre of Maryland (Mary Resing, Director). Opening Night Sunday, February 10, 2008. This play is the winner of the 2008 STAGE International Script Competition and was developed, in part, through the University of California, Santa Barbara’s STAGE Project by the Professional Artists Lab (Nancy Kawalek, Director) and the California NanoSystems Institute.

Developed and produced by The Ensemble Studio Theatre/Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Science & Technology Project. This production is funded in part through the EST/Sloan Project Mainstage Initiative.