Spring play brings science, theatre
departments together in Oxygen
Manchester College students will “discover” oxygen on stage in an
unusual time-travel play that makes its Indiana debut May 4-6. Oxygen,
written by chemists Carl Djerassi and Roald Hoffmann, brings together
Manchester’s theatre and chemistry programs as the cast recreates some
of the original experiments that led to the discovery of oxygen.
“I had several reasons for choosing this play,” said MC Theatre Director
Scott K. Strode, professor of communication studies. “Faculty in our
science division had read about Oxygen in a science journal. And
I have always been interested in plays that
contain aspects of the sciences in significant ways. This play
also is fitting considering the opening of our Science Center last
What is discovery? Why is it so important to be first? These are just
two of the questions that trouble the characters in Oxygen, which
runs at 7:30 p.m. each night, Thursday through Saturday, May 4-6, in
Wampler Auditorium. Tickets are $7; $6 for senior citizens and non-MC
students. Tickets are available at the door or by calling 982-5551.
The Oxygen timeline alternates between the 1770s and 2001, when
the fictional Chemistry Nobel Prize Committee of the Royal Swedish
Academy of Sciences decides to commemorate the 100th year of
the award with the “Retro-Nobel Prize” for those great discoveries that
preceded the Nobel Prize. The Nobel Committee focuses on the 1770s
discovery of oxygen, which launched the modern chemical revolution.
Some of the experiments that took
place in the original discovery of oxygen
are recreated on stage.
“I’m preparing the chemistry experiments and related props for
the play,” said Dr. Terese Salupo-Bryant,
associate professor of chemistry. In addition, Dr. Susan Klein,
associate professor of chemistry, and the Manchester College student
affiliate of the American Chemical Society will underwrite one of the
Oxygen actors are: seniors Erin Gropp of Hudson, Steve Grubb of
Goshen, Rachel McFadden and Brad Vah of North Manchester, and Myra
Martin-Adkins of Washington, D.C.; junior Nick Kauffman of Goshen;
sophomore Aaron Hostetler of Bremen; and first-year students Jeff Combs
of Wabash, Kacie Gauby, David Moan of Goshen and Tedra
Tague of New Market.