A Physics Professor, Director, Playwright, Researcher, and Production Company Create Performance About a Scientist Whose Agoraphobia Threatens to Derail Everything

Ithaca, NY, August 28, 2012 --(PR.com)-- Cornell University’s Department of Performing and Media Arts and Redshift Productions will present “Emergence”, an interactive performance about Amanda, a professor of physics who balances running her own lab, engaging in a fiery romance, and planning a friends’ wedding. But when agoraphobia threatens to derail all she has worked for, where can she find a safe haven?

Emergence is a result of the collaboration of physicist Dr. Itai Cohen, director and professor of performing and media arts Melanie Dreyer-Lude, playwright and PhD student Aoise Stratford, PhD candidate in Science Communication Megan K. Halpern, and Artistic and Executive Director Max Evjen of Redshift Productions. The interactive performance centers on the concept of emergent phenomena and the work performed in the lab of Dr. Cohen. Emergent phenomena is a term that describes the way complex systems and patterns arise out of a multiplicity of relatively simple interactions.

“Emergence represents an unusual and significant collaboration between two experts in very different fields. Physicists work from certainty. They like outcomes and measurables. Theater artists are interested in process and subjectivity. Working together has allowed Itai and me a number of unexpected opportunities. We have forced one another to think in new ways while constructing this project. The audience will not only see a story about how physics works in the world, they will experience it through a variety of participation activities.” – Director Melanie Dreyer-Lude

Tickets for Emergence are $4 (+$1 processing fee). For more information or to buy tickets, go to www.schwartztickets.com, call 607-254-ARTS or visit the box office in the Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts, 430 College Ave., between 12:30-4 p.m. weekdays starting Aug. 22. Performances are on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday September, 20-22nd at 7:30 PM in the Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts.

To arrange an interview with Dr. Cohen, Professor Dreyer-Lude, Ms. Stratford, Ms. Halpern and/or Redshift Productions please contact Max Evjen at Redshift Productions at 212-928-1533 or at max@redshiftproductions.com.

Itai Cohen is an Associate Professor at Cornell University studying the physics of soft matter. His research focuses on how the internal structure and size of materials affects the way they move or flow. The materials his group investigates range from micron-sized particles, to soft biological tissues, and even the aerodynamic flows induced by flying insects. Remarkably, while such materials are ubiquitous and can be found in any kitchen, understanding how they move due to imposed forces remains one of the big challenges in the field of Physics. More information at cohengroup.ccmr.cornell.edu.

Melanie Dreyer-Lude is Assistant Professor of Acting and Directing in the department of Theater, Film and Dance at Cornell University. She graduated from Northwestern University in Chicago with an MFA in Directing, where she worked with Mary Zimmerman, Frank Galati, Tina Landau and Bob Falls. She is the former Co-Artistic Director of ShatterMask Theater, a critically acclaimed Equity theatre specializing in exploring alternatives to traditional modes of production. Fluent in German, she translates and directs contemporary German plays. She has directed over forty theater productions across the globe, including Off Broadway plays in New York City. Her translations of contemporary German plays have been featured in books and magazines and continue to be nationally produced.

Aoise Stratford has received many awards for her plays, most recently the Susan Glaspell Award and The Gloria Ann Peter Award, both for "The Unfortunates." Her work has been performed in the USA, UK, Australia, Canada and Europe. She has twice been a finalist for the Heidemann Award and has been nominated for an American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award. Ms. Stratford has an MFA in writing, and has been a writer in residence at the Byrdcliffe Arts Colony. She is a regional representative for the Dramatists Guild of America, and is a member of the International Center for Women Playwrights. She has served as a new play respondent and taught playwriting workshops for The Arvada Center, The Last Frontier Theatre Conference, KC/ACTF, and Cornell University, where she is currently working on a Phd in Theatre.

Megan Halpern is a PhD Candidate in the Communication department at Cornell University. Her research interests revolve around the intersection of art and science and the relationship between experts and the public in both art and science. Her current projects include the development of tools to minimize barriers in collaborations between scientists and artists, and ways of engaging the public in science through arts-inspired interactions. Megan received her B.A. in painting from Smith College in 1997 and became an Off- and Off-Off Broadway set designer and scenic artist. Her work transitioned from design to production in 2000, when she co-founded Redshift Productions, a company that creates science performances and works with artists and scientists to create new forms of scientific outreach. With Redshift, Megan has produced and created shows and programs ranging from camp activities in State Parks to large scale Off Broadway Productions. In addition to her work with Redshift, Megan worked with Stages of Learning, an arts in education organization, from 2004 - 2007. During that time, she became the Director of Programs, as well as the Artistic Director of the Chekhov Theatre Ensemble, a theatre company embedded in Stages of Learning as part of the professional development of the teaching artists.

Redshift Productions creates experiences in art and science for scientists, artists, and audiences by facilitating collaboration between scientists and artists in order to create artistic works as science outreach. Past projects include: Off Broadway: Phallacy by Carl Djerassi at the Cherry Lane Theatre, Three on a Couch and Taboos by Carl Djerassi at the Soho Playhouse, SeaChange: Reversing the Tide by Roger Payne and Lisa Harrow at the Cherry Lane Theatre; Off-Off Broadway: the rock opera Galileo: The Emotional Life of a Spacecraft, the comedy Happy Hour at the Event Horizon, and the collaborative workshop called The Collaboratorium. Redshift was recently featured on NPR Science Friday, ABC News Nightline and CBS Sunday Morning, and has been featured in The New York Times, Variety, TimeOut NY, and numerous other industry trade outlets. Redshift Productions also conducts assessment of outreach, training for best practices in science communication, and entertainment and workshops for conferences and symposia. More information at www.redshiftproductions.com.
Redshift Productions
Max Evjen