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Lauren Gunderson - book author

Lauren Gunderson is the author of books: The Half-Life of Marie Curie, Silent Sky, I and You, Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, The Revolutionists, Emilie: La Marquise Du Chatelet Defends Her Life Tonight, The Book of Will, Blast Off to the Moon!, Ada and the Engine, Exit, Pursued by a Bear

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01
In 1912, scientist Marie Curie spent two months on the British seaside at the home of Hertha Ayrton, an accomplished mathematician, inventor, and suffragette. At the time, Curie was in the throes of a scandal in France over her affair with Paul Langevin, which threatened to overshadow the accomplishment of her second Nobel Prize.

Performed by Kate Mulgrew and Francesca Faridany, this play by Lauren Gunderson is an ode to two remarkable women who, despite tremendous personal and professional obstacles, continued to devote their lives to scientific innovation and social change.

Playwright Lauren Gunderson was awarded a commission through the Audible Emerging Playwrights Fund, an initiative dedicated to developing innovative original plays driven by language and voice. As an Audible commissioned playwright, she received funding and creative support to develop The Half-Life of Marie Curie.

Directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch
Sound design by Darron L West
02
THE STORY: When Henrietta Leavitt begins work at the Harvard Observatory in the early 1900s, she isn’t allowed to touch a telescope or express an original idea. Instead, she joins a group of women “computers,” charting the stars for a renowned astronomer who calculates projects in “girl hours” and has no time for the women’s probing theories. As Henrietta, in her free time, attempts to measure the light and distance of stars, she must also take measure of her life on Earth, trying to balance her dedication to science with family obligations and the possibility of love. The true story of 19th-century astronomer Henrietta Leavitt explores a woman’s place in society during a time of immense scientific discoveries, when women’s ideas were dismissed until men claimed credit for them. Social progress, like scientific progress, can be hard to see when one is trapped among earthly complications; Henrietta Leavitt and her female peers believe in both, and their dedication changed the way we understand both the heavens and Earth.
03
Only in high school would two completely unconnected people – cranky, chronically ill Caroline and levelheaded basketball star Anthony – be paired to collaborate on a project to deconstruct a poem about the interconnectivity of everything. But as the two teens cram to finish their presentation on Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, they learn not only how to work together, but just how fundamentally they complement each other.
04
A sequel to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice set two years after the novel ends, MISS BENNET continues the story, only this time with bookish middle-sister Mary as its unlikely heroine. Mary is growing tired of her role as dutiful middle sister in the face of her siblings’ romantic escapades. When the family gathers for Christmas at Pemberley, an unexpected guest sparks Mary’s hopes for independence, an intellectual match, and possibly even love. 3M, 5W
05
THE REVOLUTIONISTS is a brutal comedic quartet about four very real women who lived boldly in France during the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror (1793-1794). Playwright Olympe De Gouge, assassin Charlotte Corday, and former queen (and fan of ribbons) Marie Antoinette, and Haitian rebel Marianne Angelle hang out, murder Marat, loose their heads, and try to beat back the extremist insanity in revolutionary Paris. This grand and dream-tweaked comedy is about violence and legacy, feminism and terrorism, art and how we actually go about changing the world. It a true story. Or total fiction. Or a play about a play. Or a raucous resurrection that ends in a song and a scaffold.
06
Characters: 2m, 3f / Historic/Docu Drama Passionate. Brilliant. Defiant. Tonight, 18th century scientific genius Emilie du Chatelet is back and determined to answer the question she died with: love or philosophy, head or heart? In this highly theatrical rediscovery of one of history's most intriguing women, Emilie defends her life and loves; and ends up with both a formula and a legacy that permeates history. "Gunderson possesses an antic imagination that seeks to invent its own rules. As soon as we're drawn in, she shakes us and whisks us 10 or 15 paces ahead." -Los Angeles Times "The ambitious, non-linear experiment is a highly theatrical romp that literally crackles with electricity." -LA/OC Examiner
07
Without William Shakespeare, we wouldn’t have literary masterpieces like Romeo and Juliet. But without Henry Condell and John Heminges, we would have lost half of Shakespeare’s plays forever! After the death of their friend and mentor, the two actors are determined to compile the First Folio and preserve the words that shaped their lives. They’ll just have to borrow, beg, and band together to get it done. Amidst the noise and color of Elizabethan London, THE BOOK OF WILL finds an unforgettable true story of love, loss, and laughter, and sheds new light on a man you may think you know.
“THE BOOK OF WILL…unequivocally announces Gunderson as a playwright with whom to be reckoned. It is, quite frankly, one of the best plays I have ever seen. It will bring tears of both laughter and sorrow to all but the most jaded audience member’s eyes. It is, in a word, a triumph.” —Boulder Weekly (CO). “[Gunderson] has peopled the stage with lively, historically based characters…She paints a vivid portrait of the times in language sometimes formal, sometimes poetic and often…contemporary…She also gives a real feel for theater life and what it means to be an actor; you sense this is a work of both scholarship and love. …[THE BOOK OF WILL] serves as homage to those who sacrificed to make the first folio happen and to Shakespeare’s magnificent words.” —Westword (Denver, CO).
09
As the British Industrial Revolution dawns, young Ada Byron Lovelace (daughter of the flamboyant and notorious Lord Byron) sees the boundless creative potential in the “analytic engines” of her friend and soul-mate, Charles Babbage, inventor of the first mechanical computer. Ada envisions a whole new world where art and information converge – a world she might not live to see. A music-laced story of love, friendship, and the edgiest dreams of the future. Jane Austen meets Steve Jobs in this poignant pre-tech romance heralding the computer age. Original music by The Kilbanes on request. More at: adaplay.tumblr.com
10
Nan has decided to teach her abusive husband Kyle a lesson. With the help of her friend Simon (acting as her emotional -- and actual -- cheerleader) and a stripper named Sweetheart, she tapes Kyle to a chair and forces him to watch as they reenacts scenes from their painful past. In the piece de resistance, they plan to cover the room in meat and honey so Kyle will be mauled by a bear. Through this night of emotional trials and ridiculous theatrics, Nan and Kyle are both freed from their past in this smart, dark revenge comedy.