Presented by: UW Math and Drama Departments
A solo show written and performed by Gioia (pronounced Joy-ah) De Cari was on tap this weekend for just three days at the Ethnic Cultural Theatre near U.W. It was a special production arranged by the UW Math Department along with the Drama Department.
Why would the Math Department want to do this? This particular program, Truth Values: One Girl's Romp Through M.I.T.'s Male Math Maze, focuses on De Cari's real life story as a graduate student at M.I.T. some 20 years ago. Perhaps not surprisingly, she found a whole lot of sexism to have to deal with along with classes with so much information to absorb that she said it lived up to their reputation for getting sprayed with a fire hose.
Since making the tough decision to forego a Ph.D. and take a Master's instead, De Cari has crafted a career as an actor and writer. She's clearly an experienced actor and her solo show demonstrates her adeptness at the myriad technical skills needed to pull of creating fully realized characters with quick body movements and vocal changes.
The story is well-constructed and she skips, hops, dances and runs through her tale. Director Miriam Eusebio has helped hone the telling to a high gloss with lots of spirit. In fact, even though De Cari's tale is somewhat grim, she never seems to be down for long.
It's not meant to be a prescriptive for how to deal with sexism. In part, it might shine a light on how far we have come. But from the comments made by then-Harvard-President Larry Summers, whose comments about women's inate abilities in math and science reflected zero actual research, not far enough.
The only quibble with the production was the vocal tone Di Cari took as "herself" which was a high somewhat grating voice. She created wonderful voices for every other character, and it may have been a way to show herself at age 22, when much of this took place. Hopefully, she can rethink this aspect of a well-made production.
Written by: Miryam Gordon
Added: December 5th 2011