Cal Rep Explodes Into The 2011-12 Season With Part One of a Nuclear Double-Bill

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 The 2011-12 SeasonCalifornia Repertory Company starts the season with a bang on September 23rd with The Love Song of J. Robert Oppenheimer, a surreal examination of the father of atomic energy by Carson Kreitzer. The production will be directed by Cal Rep’s acclaimed Artistic Director Joanne Gordon, a recent recipient of the Women in Theatre Red Carpet Award.

Alternating between the desert of Los Alamos, NM, and the haunted shadows of Oppenheimer’s mind, the play explores the rise and fall of a man whose idealism and aspirations ultimately lead to the invention of the most destructive force of the 20th century. This juxtaposition and the blurred lines between identity and conformity, creation and destruction, reality and fantasy, are central to the play’s theme. Playwright Carson Kreitzer states, “In physics, simultaneous realities can exist at once: the chair is solid: the chair is mostly empty space. When observing an event, the outcome is different relative to your position. This is the truth as I know it: elusive, multi-faceted, changing under observation. Also, capable of great explosion.”

Although Oppenheimer led the Manhattan Project over fifty years ago, Gordon points to the play’s relevance in light of current global issues surrounding the use of nuclear power. “We just experienced the horror of the tsunami and the fallout, and on a very immediate level, recently the New York Times reported that they were now starting to sell beef out of the area in Japan near the nuclear reactors. The disposal of nuclear waste is reaching critical mass and politicians’ willingness to look the other way is putting all of us at risk,” she explains. “We’re dealing on a daily basis with the consequences of Oppenheimer’s work. And again, it’s not simplistic – do we become dependent on foreign oil and gas guzzlers, or do we seek a safer way?”

The production will feature a complex steel set inlaid with pools and sand, blending Southwestern aesthetics and industrial functionality. This provides a playground for the demon Lilith, who plagues Oppenheimer and serves as provocateur. Hebrew tradition holds that Lilith was the first woman, but when Adam asked her to lie down, she became enraged and left the Garden of Eden, never to return. Power is fatally attractive in this play.

Cal Rep performances are in the Royal Theater aboard the Queen Mary. The production runs Tuesday through Saturday, September 23-October 15 at 8 pm, with the exception of October 6-8 and 13-15 which will be at 6pm. There will be one matinee at 2 pm on Saturday September 24. There will be a preview performance on September 22 at 8pm. Tickets are $20 for general admission, $15 for students, military, and seniors (55 and older). Parking at the Queen Mary is $8 for patrons of Cal Rep performances, $6 for CSULB students and patrons who have dinner aboard the ship. Long Beach Public Transit also runs directly to the Queen Mary. Part two of our nuclear double-bill, Louis Slotin Sonata by Paul Mullin, will follow with performances beginning November 18th. For tickets and information please call (562) 985-5526 or visit

ABOUT THE QUEEN MARY- The Queen Mary is home to a 314-room Art Deco Hotel, where guests relive the excitement of cruising in the style of the 1930s without leaving port. She has played many roles during her illustrious career– from an elegant ocean liner to a World War II troopship. Now permanently docked, yet still afloat, at 1126 Queens Highway in beautiful Long Beach, California, The Queen Mary is a must-see attraction. The historic ship offers a variety of historical, paranormal and educational tours, unique shops, meeting & banquet facilities, three award-winning ocean view restaurants and much more. For more information please visit or call (800) 437-2934.

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