The Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company has just announced its upcoming season, the eighth for this troupe, and it’s an intriguing one that includes three regional premieres and one significant capture: And the Sun Stood Still, a play about Copernicus and his struggle to publish On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, will have its world premiere in Boulder next spring, from March 27 through April 19, 2014.
This is the first and — so far — only play by eminent science writer Dava Sobel, who has authored several books and reported for both the New York Times and the New Yorker. Sobel originally published And the Sun Stood Still as a centerpiece in a book called A More Perfect Heaven: How Copernicus Revolutionized the Cosmos. On her blog, she noted that the play had been workshopped several times and that she hoped to see it performed someday. And now it will be: in Boulder.
“In one sense, this project was a complete departure for me, as I’d never written a play before,” Dava wrote. “But I saw the play attempt as a natural next step. My college degree was in theater history, later bolstered by lots of life experience as a theater-goer. Also the theme of the piece is a familiar favorite of mine: the great transformation of humankind’s worldview through science.”
Artistic director Stephen Weitz met Sobel through one of BETC’s subscribers, a scientist, and the company staged a workshop of the play last year. “We spent a week working on it and made radical changes,” he says. “She was eager to see if it could be whipped into shape for production. She says she’s thrilled; this will be her bringing it to life. We’ll continue to do some minor tweaks, and it will be re-published as the finished script after the production.”
The regional premieres include Sharr White’s Annapurna, which will run January 30 through February 16, 2014. White’s The Other Place received glowing reviews in New York — Laurie Metcalf, who starred in the Broadway production, has just been nominated for a Tony — and was a huge success for BETC last year. (See our review here.) Playwright White grew up in Colorado — “a great place to be a teenager,” he says — and attended Boulder’s Fairview High School; Annapurna is set in Paonia.
Then there’s Melissa James Gibson’s critically-acclaimed This, which will run from September 26 through October 20, and Theresa Rebeck’s Seminar, set for May 1 to May 18, 2014.
And for the holidays, the BETC will bring back the irrepressibly comic Matt Zambrano for a reprise of David Sedaris’s The Santaland Diaries; that show will run from December 14 to 24.