Carl Djerassi crafts a shrewd collection of comedies of manners, exposing the foibles of elite tribes—business executives, chefs, scientists, professors, musicians, and other clever characters. They spar in battles of one-upmanship using class, education, gender, or prestige as their weapons, sometimes leaving damaged bystanders in their wake but sometimes finding their superiority deflated by unexpected turns of events.
This book examines the questions “What can science do for the theatre?” and “What can the theatre do for science?” which raise challenges for both theatre professionals and scientists. Unusually, this book deals with plays first and foremost as reading material — as texts to be read alone or in dramatic readings — rather than emphasizing performances on the stage. Concrete examples are given to demonstrate the potential pedagogic value of using the dialogic style and plot structure of plays in science, with a special focus on chemistry.Very few books have dealt with the subject of science-in-theatre and virtually none with chemistry-in-theatre. Texts of the author's two recent plays, Insufficiency and Phallacy, are included in their entirety to offer concrete examples of plays dealing with actual (rather than invented) chemistry. Insufficiency represents an example from the field of beer and champagne bubbles, where the topics of academic tenure and fashion in chemistry are analyzed, whereas in Phallacy, a case history of the similarities and differences between science and art is presented for debate.
Hannah Arendt, Walter Benjamin, and Theodor W. Adorno were intellectual giants of the first half of the twentieth century. The drama Foreplay explores their deeply human and psychologically intriguing private lives, focusing on professional and personal jealousies, the mutual dislike of Theodor Adorno and Hannah Arendt, the association between Walter Benjamin and Georges Bataille, and the border between erotica and pornography. Djerassi's extensive biographical research brings to light many fascinating details revealed in the dialogues among the characters, including Adorno's obsession with his dreams, Benjamin's admiration for Franz Kafka, and the intimate correspondence between Gretel Adorno and Walter Benjamin. The introduction of a fictitious character, Fräulein X, intensifies the complex interplay among the four lead protagonists and allows for a comparison of Adorno's philandering and the similar behavior of Martin Heidegger, whose affair with Hannah Arendt is well known. Foreplay brims with intrigue and the friction created when strong personalities clash.
Imaginary conversations and Jewish philosophy--Germany--Drama
This book features a CD of rarely performed music, including a specially commissioned rap by Erik Weiner of Walter Benjamin's'Thesis on the Philosophy of History.'Theodor W. Adorno was the prototypical German Jewish non-Jew, Walter Benjamin vacillated between German Jew and Jewish German, Gershom Scholem was a committed Zionist, and Arnold Schönberg converted to Protestantism for professional reasons but later returned to Judaism. Carl Djerassi, himself a refugee from Hitler's Austria, dramatizes a dialogue between these four men in which they discuss fraternity, religious identity, and legacy as well as reveal aspects of their lives-notably their relations with their wives-that many have ignored, underemphasized, or misrepresented. The desire for canonization and the process by which it is obtained are the underlying themes of this dialogue, with emphasis on Paul Klee's Angelus Novus (1920), a canonized work that resonated deeply with Benjamin, Adorno, and Scholem (and for which Djerassi and Gabrielle Seethaler present a revisionist and richly illustrated interpretation). Basing his dialogue on extensive archival research and interviews, Djerassi concludes with a daring speculation on the putative contents of Benjamin's famous briefcase, which disappeared upon his suicide.