Science Play of the Day: The Earthworks

The Earthworks by Tom Morton Smith takes place in a hotel in Geneva on the eve of the switch on of the Large Hadron Collider.

‘Two strangers – a journalist and a scientist – share their experience of loss and hope in a funny but deeply touching one-act play.’ -Playtext published by Oberon Books.

First performed at the RSC Mischief Festival at Stratford-upon-Avon in May 2017.

You’re one of those ‘because the sun’s going to expand and swallow the earth in four billion years…everything is therefore meaningless’ kind of people. Leave the Ladybird Book of Nihilism on the shelf and tell me something real.

Clare to Fritojof, The Earthworks, Scene 5

The Earthworks

by Tom Morton-Smtih

'The universe doesn't care if we know how it works.'

Past productions listed on

May 2017, Royal Shakespeare Company, Studio Theatre @ The Other Place, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK

The Earthworks on

Certain to Please? – The Uncertainty Principle in Theatre 2017 November 2017

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The Universe of Constellations Continues to Expand

The success of Nick Payne’s play Constellations has expanded into multiple continents. An Australian production of Constellations is currently at the Melbourne Arts Centre until 23 March 2013. Meanwhile, amid rumours of a transfer to New York, Nick Payne has said in an interview with Matilda Battersby that a Hollywood film adaptation of Constellations is currently being planned. According to Payne’s literary agents, he is also working on a new play about theoretical physicist Paul Dirac.

Doing the Maths – Three New Productions of David Auburn’s Proof

David Auburn’s 2001 Pulitzer Prize winning play Proof depicts the relationship between a mathematics professor, his daughter and a PhD student. In the coming weeks a new production opens in London and two productions will be staged in the USA, making March 2013 the month to catch Proof on stage.

Previews of the Menier Chocolate Factory theatre’s production of Proof begin in London on the 14 March 2013, where it runs until the 27 April. Director Polly Findlay was recently profiled in the Evening Standard.

Proof is set in the Hyde Park area of Chicago, which also happens to be where the Court Theatre will be staging the play between 7th March and 7th April 2013, directed by Charles Newell. The Peter’s Alley Theatre Company will also be performing Proof between 15th and 30th March at the Theatre on the Run in Arlington, Virginia, USA.

‘The Altruists’: A New Play in Development by Menagerie Theatre Company

The Menagerie Theatre Company is developing a new production during 2013. ‘The Altruists’ is the latest play by Craig Baxter who also wrote ‘Let Newton Be!’ and ‘Re:Design‘ (based on the correspondence of Charles Darwin and Asa Gray).

The Altruists‘, which has already won Baxter the STAGE new writing award, concerns George Price, who performed ground breaking work with John Maynard Smith and Bill Hamilton in the 1960s on the mathematical and evolutionary basis of altruism.

The new play had its first public reading in October 2012 and a production is in development this year. Craig Baxter and director Patrick Morris will be speaking about the ‘The Alturists’ at a special event at Cambridge Science Festival on 23 March 2013.

Two Performances of ‘Mr Darwin’s Tree’ in Oxford

The touring production of ‘Mr Darwin’s Tree’ by Murray Watts is being performed in Oxford later this week. Andrew Harrison, who plays Charles Darwin in this one-man show, gave a very strong performance when StageScite saw the production at the Kings Head Theatre last year. The play gives a moving account of Darwin’s family relationships, his personal struggles and his work.

‘Mr Darwin’s Tree’ is being performed at St. Andrews Church in Oxford on Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd February 2013 at 7.30pm.

Tom Stoppard Celebrated in the States

A new production of Tom Stoppard’s ‘Arcadia’ is underway in Indiana, USA  – a few weeks before the Writers Guild of America plans to honour the playwright for his contributions to screenwriting.

The Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette’s production of ‘Arcadia’ is playing on Fridays and Saturdays until 2nd February. The town of Lafayette is about 100 miles southeast of Chicago.

Set across two centuries and encompassing mathematics, chaos theory, poetry and landscape gardening, Stoppard’s 1993 play is one of the classics of the science in theatre genre. The director of the Lafayette production, Rachel Lambert, describes ‘Arcadia’ further in this short video on the theatre’s website.


On the 17th February in Los Angeles Sir Tom Stoppard will receive the Laurel Award from the Writers Guild of America for his contributions to screenwriting. Stoppard’s prolific film writing credits include ‘Shakespeare in Love’ with Marc Norman (1993) and the 2012 film adaption of Tolstoy’s ‘Anna Karenina’.

‘The Effect’ Wins Best New Play Award

‘The Effect’, the new play by Lucy Prebble has won ‘Best New Play’ in the Critic’s Circle Theatre Awards at a lunchtime ceremony on 15th January. The sell-out National Theatre/Headlong production opened in November 2012 to very positive reviews in the UK press.

The play is set in a clinical trials facility and follows the relationship between two trial participants Connie (played by Billie Piper) and Tristan (Jonjo O’Neill). A short video including brief comments from Lucy Prebble about an early read-through has recently been posted on the production website.


‘The Effect’ runs at the National’s Cottesloe Theatre until 23 February 2013  – although only day tickets and returns are available.

‘The Physicists’ on BBC Radio 3

Just one week on from airing Michael Frayn’s ‘Copenhagen’, Radio 3 will be broadcasting another play featuring physicists – and this time they’re mad. Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s ‘The Physicists’ was first staged in 1962 and was revived at London’s Donmar Warehouse in 2012 to rather mixed reviews. Set in a lunatic asylum, ‘The Physicists’ is less intellectually demanding than ‘Copenhagen’ but the two plays are linked by the sense of a possible nuclear threat. The new BBC Radio 3 version will feature actors Samantha Bond and Geoffrey Whitehead and goes out at 8.30pm on Sunday 20th January 2013.

Turning the Page: Interpreting Copenhagen

Two new interviews are available in anticipation of Sunday’s broadcast of Michael Frayn’s ‘Copenhagen at 8.30pm on Radio 3, starring Benedict Cumberbatch.

Frayn was interviewed by Michael Sweet on Radio 3’s Night Waves earlier this week. The pair discussed the science behind ‘Copenhagen’ as well as the radio version of Frayn’s book ‘Skios’. Speculating on why Heisenberg may have visited Bohr in 1941, Frayn suggested that “one understands oneself through one’s relations with other people.” He commented that perhaps Heisenberg wanted to “see the reflection of himself in Bohr to understand himself better.”

In another interview, the Radio Times spoke with the cast of ‘Copenhagen’ during a break in the recording of of the play. Simon Russell Beale, who plays Bohr, revealed that he is ‘hopeless at the page-turning’. Beale is no stranger to radio scripts but it seems the lengthy speeches in ‘Copenhagen’ were enough to give even this highly accomplished actor a sleepless night.