Oppenheimer central in latest Cal Rep play

LONG BEACH - "The Love Song of J. Robert Oppenheimer," described as a "surreal examination of the father of atomic energy," opens Sept. 23 in the Royal Theater aboard the Queen Mary in Long Beach.The production will be directed by Cal Rep's artistic director Joanne Gordon, a recent recipient of the Women in Theatre Red Carpet Award. Alternating between the desert of Los Alamos, NM, and the haunted shadows of Oppenheimer's mind, the play explores the rise and fall of a man whose idealism and aspirations ultimately lead to the invention of the most destructive force of the 20th century. This juxtaposition and the blurred lines between identity and conformity, creation and destruction, reality and fantasy, are central to the play's theme. Although Oppenheimer led the Manhattan Project more than 50 years ago, Gordon points to the play's relevance in light of current global issues surrounding the use of nuclear power. "We just experienced the horror of the tsunami and the fallout, and on a very immediate level, recently the New York Times reported that they were now starting to sell beef out of the area in Japan near the nuclear reactors. The disposal of nuclear waste is reaching critical mass and politicians' willingness to look the other way is putting all of us at risk." "We're dealing on a daily basis with the consequences of Oppenheimer's work," Gordon continued. "And again, it's not simplistic - do we become dependent on foreign oil and gas guzzlers, or do we seek a safer way?" The production will feature a complex steel set inlaid with pools and sand, blending Southwestern aesthetics and industrial functionality. This provides a playground for the demon Lility, who plagues Oppenheimer and serves as provocateur. Hebrew tradition holds that Lilith was the first woman, but when Adam asked her to lie down, she became enraged and left the Garden of Eden, never to return. "The Love song of J. Robert Oppenheimer" runs Tuesday through Saturday, Sept. 23 to Oct. 15, at 8 p.m., with the exception of Oct. 6-8 and 13-15 which will be at 6 p.m. Tickets are $20 general admission, $15 for students, military and seniors ages 55 and older. Parking is $8 or $6 if you have dinner aboard the ship. For tickets and information, go to calrep.org or call (562) 985-5526.

********** Published: September 08, 2011 - Volume 10 - Issue 21