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Science! The Musical.

Science! The Musical.

Science! The Musical.  

A new musical about life in the lab.

Andrew Goldman

Being a graduate student doing scientific research in a music faculty has encouraged much reflection on what it really means to be a scientist, what constitutes scientific knowledge of something, and whether something like music can be understood scientifically at all.  One result of this reflection is ‘Science! The Musical’, a new musical about life in the lab.  The show is something of a parallel dissertation on the nature and foibles of the so-called ‘soft sciences’. 

The show runs from 18-22 February, 2014 with shows at 9:30pm in the Corpus Playroom.  Tickets are available at the Corpus Playroom website:

http://www.corpusplayroom.com/whats-on/musical/science!-the-musical.aspx

The story follows Janice, an enthusiastic first year PhD student in a social psychology laboratory.  She learns her first-ever paper proposal has just been accepted to an academic conference ('Accepted!').  The only problem is that she has not yet written the paper, and the conference is in two weeks!  She has a supervision with her professor who advises her that in order to be successful, she must be interdisciplinary ('The Interdisciplinary Rag').  Without sufficient time to run an experiment, her cynical post-doc lab mate Simon advises her to just put a questionnaire online ('Do a Questionnaire').  Meanwhile, the publishing kingpin and conference organizer, Jay Wiles Blackly, visits the lab and advises Janice that if she does not finish soon and publish her paper, she'll never make it in the academic world ('Publish or Perish').  Frustrated, Janice laments the pressures of the professional academic world ('The Real World').  Simon, similarly frustrated, takes the chance to complain about the quasi-scientific reputation of social psychologists ('Physics Envy').  Janice makes steady progress on her paper, but runs into problems when she realizes she does not know how to do statistics.  Simon reassures her that computer software called SPSS will do it for her ('Yes Yes, SPSS').  Janice is nearly completed with her paper, but needs a theory to tie it all together.  She asks Simon how he has done this with his own work, and Simon sings of his own theory – that Janice loves him ('I have a theory').  Janice is confused by this counterintuitive conclusion.  At the conference, the professor is giving a keynote, but the video doesn't work on his slideshow and he runs out of time ('If I Had the Time').  Because time is short, Janice has to rush through her presentation to finish before the coffee break, and the response from the audience and from Simon is one she will never forget!

As of 26 November, we are still looking for a director and producer as well as the cast (Janice - mezzo, Simon - tenor, The Professor - tenor, and Jay Wiles Blackly - baritone).  Please contact Andrew Goldman (ajg91@cam.ac.uk) for more details.

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