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Photograph 51
Photograph 51

by Anna Ziegler
Directed by Sue Higginson

8th to 15th February 2020

Production dates: 8th- 15th February 2020

Auditions: Sunday 14th July 12.00

Director: Sue Higginson  

Home: 020 8309 5067 Mobile: 07740 699287

suehig2012@hotmail.co.uk

 

A great chance for actors to portray some of the 20th Century’s greatest scientists as they embark on the race to understand the structure of DNA. Constructed a bit like a whodunnit, the play exposes the events which conspired to leave a brilliant female scientist largely unrecognised for her contribution to one of the most influential discoveries in modern times.

There are lines which will demand an accurate memory and a nimble vocal warm up, but there’s a wealth of poetic prose, comic exchanges and even downright bolshiness to explore too! It should make for a production which entertains, informs and inspires both in rehearsal and beyond. 

CHARACTERS: 1 woman, 5 men

 

Rosalind Franklin – in her 30s. Recruited to the lab in London because of her outstanding reputation. Scientist, focused, no sense of humour, doesn’t suffer fools gladly, assumes everyone is a fool until convinced otherwise. Great speeches plus brilliant one-liners!

Maurice Wilkins – in his 30s or 40s. Runs the research lab in London, finds it hard to accept Rosalind Franklin as his equal. So hard that their interactions are invariably abrasive.

James Watson – American early 20s, confident, full of energy, wacky thinker, ruthlessly ambitious. Recruited to the research lab in Cambridge to work alongside Francis Crick. (Script refers to him having ‘odd hair’!)

Francis Crick – in his 30s or 40s. Experienced researcher in Cambridge. Has immediate rapport with James Watson. They make a great lateral-thinking team. Francis Crick has known Maurice Wilkins for a number of years.     

Don Caspar – American in his 20s or 30s. Jewish, working for his PhD at Yale. Writes to Rosalind to request images for his thesis. Honest and principled, he has total respect for Rosalind Franklin and joins the London lab when he gets his doctorate.

Ray Gosling – in his 20s. PhD student in the London research lab, happy to work alongside anyone. Frequently gets caught in the middle of skirmishes between Rosalind and Wilkins!      

Audition Pieces

Rosalind and Gosling p17 ‘It’s absurd isn’t it’ to p18 ‘I didn’t mean to’

Rosalind and Wilkins p33 ‘So?’… to p35 ‘Well then. Enjoy the chocolates’

Watson & Crick p50 ‘But it does matter!…’ …to ’It is amazing.’

Also p55 ‘What is it?’…..to p56 ‘Oh alright’

Caspar p35 ‘Dear Dr.Franklin, I hope’…to ’..I do. And I think you do too.’

Opportunities for the creative team

The action takes place between 1951 and 1953, swiftly moving between multiple locations.

The set will need to be abstract and versatile, whilst having an overtly scientific theme.  (It might have a helical staircase (or two) perhaps? Or be a ‘structure’ which provides levels but can be made to appear very different with creative lighting changes?)

At this stage, I am open to all design ideas! Those who have worked with me before will know that I enjoy starting with a blank page and working collaboratively from there!

There are no overt sound cues within the text – no big-bang sound effects or chase music!! But there is scope for creativity here. Perhaps lighting and sound can work together to achieve clarity for the transitions in time and place? Maybe too, sound can be subtly used to underpin the invisible danger to which Rosalind Franklin succumbs?

Props, too, will call for some creative ability or skilful procurement. On the list, already, is a convincing double helix model and X-ray diffraction photograph thingummy!

Cast 
 
Crew 
 
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