• A scene from MIT Dramashop's "Electronic City," which will tour England this summer. From left: sophomores Jonas Kubilius, Larissa Estrada and Estevan Martinez, and junior Yuri Podpaly.

    Photo / Hayden Taylor

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  • Cast members from the MIT Dramashop production "Felutopia" include, from left, seniors Adam Miller and Helen McCreery, and juniors Daniel Chonde and Adam Love.

    Photo / Hayden Taylor

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Grads taking Dramashop on UK tour

Graduating seniors Kenneth L. Roraback and Adam A. Miller will get right back to work after Commencement on Friday, June 9, when each will receive a dual degree in physics and theater.

Both men are directors in MIT's co-curricular theater group, Dramashop, which will travel to England in its first trip abroad as an ensemble in a new initiative dubbed "Americans Come to Soliloquize," which aims to build trans-Atlantic bridges.

A total of 15 students, including cast members, directors and a technical team, will present two contemporary plays during their two-week stay. Roraback will direct the group in "Electronic City," by Falk Richter, and Miller will direct "Felutopia," which he developed with the MIT comedy group The Coalition Against Racist Propaganda and Other Crimes Perpetrated by the White Man.

The plays, to be staged at MIT in a free double-bill from Tuesday, June 6, through Thursday, June 8, at 8 p.m. at Simmons Hall, will be performed in independent and college theaters in London, Oxford, Cambridge, Warwick and Bristol.

Roraback is directing "Electronic City," a surreal exploration of how the gadget-ridden world of main characters Tom and Joy fragments. "What they ultimately need is love and human contact. 'Electronic City' makes us ask how to use technology in such a way that it strengthens, rather than replaces, our humanity," Roraback said.

Physics and theater question and explore possibilities in different, yet complementary ways, he noted. "My study of physics has enabled me to better step back and analyze the mechanics of an issue or a problem. Theater has enabled me to better examine an issue or a problem in terms of its human relevance," he said.

Miller is directing "Felutopia," a satirical piece dissecting racial tensions in the United States. After an average farmer becomes the president of Felutopia, his new-found power over other people's lives sends the community into a downward spiral. "Felix finds that he must fight to help the people before ultimately confronting his biggest enemy -- the color of his skin," said Miller.

"Studying physics, I learn about the physical mechanisms of the world. Studying theater, I learn about people," said Miller, who will return to Cambridge University in the fall to begin work toward a Ph.D. in astrophysics under a Gates Scholarship. He hopes to write about theater.

Both Dramashop plays will be staged in London. "Felutopia" makes two performances at the famous King's Head Theatre, and "Electronic City" will be staged at the intimate Etcetera Theatre and at the Dana Centre, the London Science Museum's forum for topical discourse. Hayden K. Taylor, graduate student in electrical engineering and computer science, is producing the tour.

For more information, visit web.mit.edu/hkt/www/acts.htm.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on June 7, 2006 (download PDF).

Topics: Arts, Commencement, Students


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