Politics of Gender Come to the Stage at NJT

Politics of Gender Come to the Stage at NJTIn the current climate of male dominated businesses and organizations, a power struggle is occurring in the arena of gender politics where women often come in second. But in Sarah Treem's play, "The How and the Why," she puts the feminine first with two female evolutionary biologists in a heavily male dominated field. It is a play about science, feminism and generational rivalry. NJT will stage the production from January 24 - February 11 in the Wool Studio Theatre.

In Treem's smart and provocative play about science, family and survival of the fittest, evolution and emotion collide as two women of different generations struggle to come together both on a professional and on a personal level. The play explores many areas of struggle for women, especially in the field of scientific research: the fierce competition among scientists for recognition of their discoveries; the struggles in the academic world for prestigious positions and grant funding: and female attitudes about sex, relationships, men, motherhood and families.

The two women, one a respected professor who is at the top of her field, the other a young graduate student with her own radical theories, are each visionaries who take a contrarian approach in a discipline dominated by male-skewed thinking. They meet on the eve of a prestigious scientific conference where the younger Rachel wrestles for the truth with Zelda, the established leader in the field.

Treem writes that "a conversation started to develop in my head. Between a mother and daughter. Both whip smart. Both ambitious. Who are equally desperate for and terrified by each other." This intimate and keenly perceptive play explores the difficult choices faced by women of every generation.

While on the surface, it seems to be a play that explores the bias toward the male perspective in scientific fields of study as it offers a discourse on scientific issues through a scientific, woman-driven, multi-generational lens. But ultimately, Treem's passionate and clinical dialogue coaxes out a story so much deeper than the science. This is not a play about the scientific issues at all. It is a play about the how and the why of life.

Nancy Bell directs the production which features, Amy Loui* as the older Zelda Kahn and Sophia Brown as Rachel. The How and the Why will run January 24 - February 11 in the JCC's Wool Studio Theatre, 2 Millstone Campus Drive. Tickets are $36 for preview performance, $39 - $44 all other performances and are available at newjewishtheatre.org or 314-442-3283. It is still possible to purchase Season tickets as well as our new FLEX Passes which allow for ultimate flexibility with subscriber privileges and more. For information, call the number above.

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