Quantum Entanglement

lucid dramatics · Ages 13+ · world premiere · United States of America

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June 26, 2017 stage raw and la bitter lemons

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My overall impression

In layman terms, quantum entanglement is the phenomenon that two particles can remain intimately linked to where actions performed on one affect the other, even when separated by great distances (even light-years away). Einstein dismissed the phenomenon as “spooky action at a distance” but there has since been huge discoveries in quantum physics. One possibility in the future is building a quantum internet – a communications system that would be faster than the speed of light. This theory is at the heart of Quantum Entanglement by Katelyn Schiller, but it’s used in far more romantic and poetic terms, as a way to link a family together.

As we each hold a flickering light, an astrophysicist (Payden Ackerman) greets us as the stars. He’s been developing a way to communicate quantumly with his wife and daughter by collecting their entangled photons in jars (beautifully displayed by colored lights). His wife has been missing for a day so he’s using his own version of of a superconducting nanowire single photon detector – a device to track the entangled photons. Ackerman’s astrophysicist doesn’t seem all that concerned that his wife is missing -perhaps because she always comes back- his daughter Andromeda (Schiller), however, is desperate to find her.

There’s a lot to process here and for those who may not be familiar with the basics of quantum entanglement might miss some of the magic of this piece from confusion. That being said, this is not a “science” play, it’s a play focused on love, family and connection. Director Shane Wood has crafted interesting stage dynamics, especially with the cast using breath to shift in and out of flashbacks. Zarr as the depressive mother is haunting as she slowly walks about the stage, there but also somewhere else. Schiller is the emotional heart of the piece as the daughter who’s had to deal with a father who doesn’t feel emotions and a mother who feels them all too deeply. She’s also written a fascinating piece mixing in the more romantic theories of quantum entanglement. I hope Schiller continues to develop this piece as it still needs some fine tuning, but even as is, it’s an intriguing story with strong performances.

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