QED: A Play from Dynamic Patterns Theatre

QED: A Play by Peter Parnell

• $10 General Admission All Venues •

…a part of the dynamic patterns theatre Science at the Theatre Series

September 13 and 14 at 8:00 pm
Hoogland Center for the Arts
Springfield, Illinois [ map ]
buy tickets online or
Call 217.523.ARTS

September 20 and 21 at 7:30 pm
Playhouse on the Square
Jacksonville, Illinois [ map ]
Call 217.491.3977
October 4 and 5 at 8:00 pm
Madden Arts Center, 3rd Floor
Decatur Area Arts Council
Decatur, Illinois [ map ]
Call 217.423.3189

QED is a play by American playwright Peter Parnell, which chronicles part of a day in the life of Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman. It presents scenes from a day in Feynman’s life, interweaving many strands from Feynman’s biography, from the Manhattan project to the Challenger inquiry to more personal topics such as the death of Feynman’s wife, and his own fight with cancer. The play, which grew out of a collaboration between Parnell, actor Alan Alda and director Gordon Davidson, premiered in 2001. 

Set in June, 1986 in Feynman’s office at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, the play follows Feynman through a day of his life. As the real Feynman does in his books What Do You Care What Other People Think? and Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!, the stage character talks directly to the audience; we learn from this and from phone calls with off-stage characters that Feynman is to appear that night playing his bongo drums in a student production of the musical South Pacific, that he is expecting a delegation from the Russian Republic of Tuva, which Feynman is whimsically determined to visit (as detailed in Ralph Leighton’s book, Tuva or Bust!), and that he is eager to make his views known in the final report of the Rogers Commission charged with the Challenger space shuttle disaster. From phone conversations between Feynman and his doctors, we also learn that Feynman’s cancer has returned, and that his doctors are urging him to undergo further surgical procedures, which are not without their own risk. Feynman’s conversation with the audience also touches on a number of additional topics well-known to readers of his autobiographical writings: the Manhattan project and safe-cracking, how he learned to draw, his father, as well as musings on physics and, more generally, on the nature of science and knowledge.

Starring Al Scheider as Richard Feynman

and Lynexia Dawn Chigges as Miriam Field

Directed by Matthew T. Dearing

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“Science at the Theatre”
Featuring an informal science interactive educational forum of “Ask a Physicist” with area physicists from…

University of Illinois at Springfield Benedictine University

Illinois College MacMurray College Glenwood High School

Listen to WUIS‘s Peter Gray interview Matthew T. Dearing about this new experiment merging live theatre with informal science education…

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

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  1. […] Theatre recently launched their first production in the new Science at the Theatre Series, QED: A Play. This funny, touching, and educational show featuring a day in the of life Nobel Laureate Prof. […]

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updated March 30, 2014