Saturday, October 28, 2017

Ada and the Engine at Playfest.

Prior to the rehearsal for Ada and the Engine all the actors sat at a conference table in the Orlando Shakespeare Theater with director David Lee for a Skype video conference with the playwright Lauren Gunderson. Lauren, who lives in San Francisco has been writing plays for years and recently has been getting rave reviews. David pointed out that she has resisted the pull of both LA and NYC. There were technical glitches getting the Skype conference started, having to do with audio and it was finally resolved by ignoring the digital tech and using an analog phone.

Each actor in turn got to ask Lauren a question about the play that they had been rehearsing. Lauren reminded us that a story should involve not just the conflict of separation or failed relationships, but also the revelations and excitement that comes from true discovery. The play is about Ada, a young strong willed and very intelligent woman who had a mind for mathematics at a time when women were only known for their abilities to win a man and raise children. Her mother, Lady Byron, had every intention of seeing that she followed the norms of the day. However when Ada meets mathematician Charles Babbage, they discover a true affinity in the power of numbers and the possibility of an analytical computing machine that could solve extremely complicated mathematical problems. Their excited revelations are the basis of the first computers that used punch cards to store data. Ada's vision of the future of this machine even went on to imagine a machine that could compose music. She envisions a whole new world where art and information converge. A world she might not live to see.

Although it is clear that Ada and Charles are soul mates, they never become involved since she was so much younger than he was. She ends up marrying a Mr. Lovelace who is handsome and a good dancer, but his vision of her responsibilities certainly limited her future in math and science.

This was a story of love, friendship, and dreams of the future. It is refreshing and exciting to see a play in which two geniuses inspire each other. In an age where pop culture only celebrates sports figures and celebrities, this play celebrates inspiration and ingenuity, which should always be at the heart of the American Dream.

Playfest offers seven new plays over two weekends.
Tickets for "Ada and the Engine"
By Lauren Gunderson are $10
John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center

812 E Rollins St, Orlando, Florida 32803
Saturday, October 28, 2017 at 8 p.m.

PlayFest Party!
Saturday, October 28, 2017 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. - Buffet dinner provided by Bubbalou's Bodacious BBQ.

Saturday, November 4, 2017 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. - Buffet dinner provided by Spoleto - My Italian Kitchen.

Join the featured PlayFest 2017 playwrights and actors for an exclusive PlayFest Party inside the John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center. Tickets ($12) for the PlayFest Party can be added onto your PlayFest 2017 tickets online at, by phone at (407) 447-1700 ext. 1, or in person at the John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center (812 East Rollins Street). Only 60 slots per PlayFest Party available.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

No comments: