Earth Day Event: A staged reading of "Vavilov's Garden"
SCIENCE UNDER SIEGE: A staged reading of "Vavilov's Garden" by Mark Eckard + discussion with plant cryopreservationist Raquel Folgado from The Huntington Library, Art Collection, and Botanical Gardens
WHEN: Saturday, April 22 (Earth Day), 2017
6:00 pm Pre-Show: "Science Under Siege" lobby display and conversation with the playwright, and free coffee from Rose City Coffee + food trucks; 7:00pm: staged reading of Vavilov's Garden followed by post-show discussion with plant cryopreservationist Raquel Folgado from The Huntington Library, Art Collection, and Botanical Gardens
WHERE: Ramo Auditorium, Caltech campus
TICKETS: Purchase at the door. Suggested donation to Theater Arts Caltech $5 - $25.
In an exciting Earth Day event at Caltech on Saturday, April 22, Theater Arts Caltech presents a staged reading of a new play that dramatizes the plight of scientists in WWII Russia who starved to death while protecting the edible seeds and tubers of an irreplaceable seed and genebank. The play is written by Mark Eckard (The Nevsky Wall), directed by Joshua Wolf Coleman (Grey's Anatomy), and stars Caltech students, alum, and Caltech/JPL scientists Peter Basch, Ben Cassese, Carol Elaine, Lydia Kivrak, Amit Lakhanpal, Stephen Kellogg, and Teagan Wall.
In the midst of mass hunger in Russia, biologist Nikolai Vavilov "scoured the world for crop specimens that might grow in the harsh Russian climate or provide genetic material to make existing plants hardier," Eckard explains. Yet he ran up against the pseudo science of Marxist Trofim Lysenko, who was embraced by the Soviet propaganda machine. Eckard says, "We see the same conflict today over the question of climate change. Ideologues persist in their denial in the face of overwhelming evidence, delaying the crucial action needed to prevent catastrophe. Men like Lysenko, and politicians like Stalin who support them live in a world where facts are irrelevant and anyone who dares disagree is labelled an elitist or an enemy of progress."
Our post-show discussion will feature the playwright, director, and plant physiologist and crtopreservationist Raquel Folgado in a discussion about seed conservation and genebanking.