Coming Soon to San Diego: Let Newton Be!
Today's entry was written by Kathryn Applegate. Please note the views expressed here are those of the author, not necessarily of The BioLogos Foundation. You can read more about what BioLogos believes here.
You’re invited! Come and join us for an evening of science, faith, and history as BioLogos, in partnership with Point Loma Nazarene University, hosts a special performance of the acclaimed production Let Newton Be!. Here are the details:
When? April 21 @ 7pm – one night only!
Where? Crill Performance Hall, Point Loma Nazarene University, San Diego
How much? Tickets are $16 for adults and $12 for students and seniors
After touring in the U.K., the production is now in North America with stops in Toronto, Boston, and New York City. The play, written by zoologist-turned-playwright Craig Baxter and directed by Patrick Morris of the Menagerie Theatre Company in Cambridge, England, was commissioned in 2009 by our friends at the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion at St. Edmunds College, Cambridge University, to celebrate the University’s 800th anniversary and the International Year of Astronomy.
Isaac Newton is famous for his work on universal gravitation, optics, and calculus (much to many college students’ dismay!), but he actually wrote more about theology and alchemy than about science. The play highlights his obsessive quest for scientific and theological understanding and gives insight into three stages of his life. According to reviewer Margaret Harris at Physics World, we meet “Isack, a bookish young misfit; Newton, an ambitious, untidy scholar; and Sir Isaac, an elder statesman who takes equal pleasure in prosecuting counterfeiters and persecuting rivals.” Rebecca Stott and Hannah Morrish, reviewing for Science Magazine, describe the effect of this onstage:
Baxter has all three on stage all the time, challenging and questioning one another. That produces a multidimensional Newton—one who is indeed torn among selves, split, divided, energetic, and spilling over, but whom we see as a complete being. The result is a play that barely contains its own subject. This is the theater of ideas at its very finest. It is mesmerizing, inventive, and provocative.
If you’re still skeptical that a play about a long-dead physicist could be fun for a popular audience, Stott and Morrish’s words should boost confidence:
Can theatre be a platform for science? In the hands of Baxter, Morris and Menagerie Theatre – yes. Spectacularly yes…Baxter creates a unified Newton who will awe and move modern audiences.
While Let Newton Be! may not explain Newton's science, it does an astoundingly good job of explaining Newton himself, revealing him as a fascinating, multidimensional character who struggles with the big questions of his day.
So if you’re located in Southern California, what are you waiting for? Get your tickets now while they’re still available. And don’t forget to stop by and say hello to your friends at BioLogos! We’ll be there before and after the show.
Kathryn Applegate is Program Director at The BioLogos Foundation. She received her PhD in computational cell biology at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif. At Scripps, she developed computer vision software tools for analyzing the cell's infrastructure, the cytoskeleton.