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A Play about Astronomer Caroline Herschel Sets the Record Straight

from the Guardian (UK)

One of the least expected successes in London's West End last week was Stella by the Take the Space theatre company. The three actors wore their own clothes, hadn't learned any lines, and there were only about 20 people in the invited audience who met in a circular room high above the Aldwych.

Moreover, the show was hardly a barrel of laughs, being about female astronomers--notably the tiny, forgotten, angry 18th century Caroline Herschel. But I have to admit, the audience choked on the bared emotions and the wonderment of people seeing deep space for the first time.

This was a performed, one-off reading of Stella, a new play by Irish actor-playwright Siobhán Nicholas, who appears to be inventing a new theatre form that we might call "revelatory early science." After their show about 18th century Royal Society chair and diarist Samuel Pepys, she and Chris Barnes--a former National Theatre actor and Barnum and Bailey circus clown--have been touring a play about "England's Leonardo": Robert Hooke.

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