You know those big, intimidating biology textbooks that us students are hitting hard before the big exams? Yeah, the ones with the crazy pictures and models. If someone was to ask you who is responsible for the scientific knowledge in those very textbooks, you probably wouldn’t have a clue.
So slip on your lab coats and prepare your petri dishes to take a dive into the scientific world of a woman whose dedication and hard work went from DNA molecules to DNA duels.
In acknowledgment of Women’s History Month, the play “Photograph 51” written by Anna Ziegler is a humorous remembrance of the events of one of the greatest female scientists of the twentieth century, Rosalind Franklin and her discovery of the structure of DNA molecules.
“It’s a dramatized telling of the race to discover DNA, and more specifically, it’s the unacknowledged contribution of Rosalind Franklin,” said director Gail Dartez. “The thing that comes to life in the play is that it captures how Rosalind’s discovery is common knowledge now and how it was not common knowledge back then.”
Photograph 51 will not only be put on in the theater, but also in a science classroom on campus as well.
“It’s very exciting to have a cross campus collaboration and putting our heads together to support campus events,” Dartez said.
Preparation for the play was not easy. A large struggle that the cast ran into was learning the British dialect of the characters.
“The props department ran into some difficulty creating the x-ray camera that she [Rosalind] used, because it’s very complex,” Dartez said. “But we wanted to get a good representation to better understand the context of events that really happened.”
The story contains racy jokes, love triangles and hot tempers but at the same time never strayed away from the main focus, which is Franklin’s achievements and her search for the secret of life.
“One thing that I can really identify with Rosalind is her passion and zest, not necessarily for science, but for theatre,” said 19-year-old theatre major Kaley Saari, who plays Franklin.
Tailored suits, long skirts, and most of all, lab coats make up the majority of the costumes keeping it true to the 1950’s modest style and the scientific theme of the play.
“Photograph 51” is scheduled to play March 12, 13 and 14 at 1:30 p.m. in SCI 306, and March 15 at 12:30 p.m. in the Black Box theatre.
“Delving into the history of it all is so cool. We picked this play because it is so interesting and fun, and also represents the theme of Women’s History month just beautifully,” Dartez said.