from frequent theatergoer and Footlights member, Rosalind Lacy MacLennan:
Photograph 51 now at Theater J until the 24th is a must-see. It’s more than about women scientists breaking the ceiling and how scientists compete and step all over each other. I’d love to discuss it with some of you who have seen it. I thought the playwright made the outcome a little too rosy and sanguine. Oh, mankind is better off so who cares who got the Nobel Prize in 1962? There are institutions named after Rosalind Franklin now. That’s consolation. Franklin should have been named to the Nobel, dead or alive. But yes, she had tragic character flaws that may have prevented it. Yes, she died too soon. But like Marie Curie, Franklin is a martyr, in my mind now.
Personally, I really connected with this play. My oldest daughter, a micro-biologist at U.C.L.A. Medical Center is head of a research lab and has made contributions (on a far humbler scale) to DNA research. The work goes on. But early on in her career, she endured humiliating discrimination against young women in male-dominated medical labs. She prevailed but the situation isn’t that much better than in 1951. (She was here in Washington D.C. last June for the American Society of Human Genetics to present her recent published paper from the journal Molecular Genetics and Metabolism.) I am urging her to see this play, although I learned at the talk-back last Thursday night, Photograph 51 was produced in L.A. a year or so ago. I’m sure it will continue to be produced. It’s really a fine theatrical 90 minute piece. I loved the work of all the actors. I’m considering seeing it again and taking Don. I don’t often do that.