On the main stage at the JET Theatre from January 23-February 10 will be a production called Photograph 51 - telling the true story of Rosalind Franklin, the unsung heroine whose photograph of DNA's double-helix structure enabled three men (Watson, Crick and Wilkins) to win the Nobel Prize for discovering the "secret of life."
It sometimes seems that whenever a play is about science, the main purpose of the woman is to be some wife, sister or sexy lab assistant looking puzzled at the brilliant, male scientist while saying, “Wait. Let me get this straight... “
But at the center of this true story/play is brilliant (almost self-sabotagingly intelligent) Jewish/British scientist Rosalind Franklin who, it seems, got farther faster than anyone else in the race to figure out the double-helix structure of DNA. She was, in all likelihood, the smartest, most persistent person in the room.
What a delight to watch the all-male, soon to be famous cohorts play catch-up. Three of these men—James Watson, Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins—would ultimately go down in history as the discoverers of “the secret of life,” winning the Nobel Prize along the way. So here is the play’s question: Who made the final deductive leaps and how much is owed to Franklin’s efforts, including her famous photo that gives the play its title and the theory its proof?
“This beautifully calibrated performance offers multi- ple insights into the triumph of women in science and the sad, honorable secrets of one particular life.”