The evening of February 29, I very much enjoyed attending a University of Louisville Theatre Department production of "Atomic Bombers," written and directed by my colleague Russ Vandenbroucke:
The play, dramatizing the lives of the extraordinary team of international physicists racing to make an atomic bomb during World War II, will be performed Feb. 29-March 4 at 8 p.m. nightly plus a matinee at 3 p.m., March 4. All performances are at the Thrust Theatre, 2314 S. Floyd St.Those interested in the material should note that Russ has cooperated in producing a CD.
Directed by Vandenbroucke, a theater professor, the play will be the third stage production of the play originating from an earlier short play by Vandenbroucke that was performed on stage and for public radio.
Before writing and producing the play, Vandenbroucke had to obtain permission from Richard Feynman, the eccentric American scientist and Nobel Prize winner whose essay in a science journal was his inspiration. Vandenbroucke even went as far as to engage the president of the California Institute of Technology, where Feynman taught, to aid his request.
Feynman agreed to Vandenbroucke’s proposal and the first play was based on the atomic bomb tests at Los Alamos, New Mexico. Vandenbroucke later expanded the play to include the initial work at the University of Chicago which was broadcast on public radio during the 50th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, Japan.
“It is a funny play about a very serious subject,” Vandenbroucke said. “This was the greatest gathering of scientific geniuses at one time and place for a single purpose. Only later did they realize the full extent of the horrible devastation that resulted.”
Anyone interested in how comedy can be employed for critique should check out this play.
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