THEATRE NOVA PRESENTS THE MICHIGAN PREMIERE OF
The How and the Why
by Sarah Treem
February 1-24, 2019
Two brilliant female evolutionary biologists, who also happen to be mother and daughter meeting for the first time, share a bold, contrarian approach to their male-dominated field. But the younger challenges the older with a radical new theory—one that could change society’s basic understanding of female sexuality. This keenly perceptive play explores the difficult choices of modern American women and generational divides in feminism. “A smart, densely textured work about men and women, love and conflict, genes and destiny.”– The New York Times.
Directed by David Wolber, The How and the Why features Sayre Fox and Diane Hill. The production and design team includes Forrest Hejkal (scenic design), Daniel C. Walker (lighting design), Diane Hill (costume design), Carla Milarch (sound design), and Alona Shewach (stage manager, props).
PULP: ARTS AROUND ANN ARBOR
"THE HOW AND THE WHY" EXPLORES RADICAL AND EXCITING IDEAS
“It’s a beautiful thing when a play not only passes the Bechdel test with flying colors but offers an intellectually satisfying evening of theater, too. ...I love when I’m not just told a story, but have the chance to absorb radical and exciting ideas by way of a gripping tale, and Theatre Nova’s The How and the Why more than fits the bill. Hill’s Zelda is uber-rational, almost Vulcan, with only occasional cracks in her emotional veneer - an almost necessary stance, given the sacrifices Zelda’s made to make a mark in her still-male-dominated field. Fox’s Rachel’s simmering anger is biting and funny, her insecurity and youthfulness make her vulnerable, and her bracing candor will sometimes knock the wind out of you. Director David Wolber strikes the perfect tonal balance between these two very different women who are not only related by blood, but by their passion for knowledge and science.
‘The How and Why’ is “riveting”
“You’ll leave the theatre surprised that almost two hours have passed and eager to learn more about the real-life scientific theories upon which Zelda’s and Rachel’s hypotheses are based. Hill and Fox, who have performed together in previous Theatre Nova productions, have the perfect chemistry for Zelda and Rachel. They are wary, testy, obsessed, explosive and vulnerable in all the right proportions. Director David Wolber has done justice to Treem’s tight, compelling script while highlighting the talents of two amazing actresses. Forrest Hejkal’s set designs – Act I takes place in Zelda’s office at a university and Act II is in a dive bar – are functional and appropriately simple for a character-driven drama."
ARTS at MICHIGAN
REVIEW: The How and the Why
“YIt was impressive that this play was so accurate with its scientific details – Is it worth it? comes up again as Zelda and Rachel discuss whether the benefits in their theories (cleaning out the uterus, for example) outweigh the risks (expending energy on creating a new uterine lining every month). Yet somehow the play still had so much time to delve into its characters’ personal issues. It is a rare breed of artwork that manages to give equal weight to both science and people, and Sarah Treem, the playwright, managed this extraordinarily well."