ENTANGLEMENT by AJ Baker (2015 Salon Series Finalist)
ENTANGLEMENT, a play by AJ Baker. Directed by Louis Parnell. With Carrie Paff*, Joseph Estlack*, Louis Parnell*, Elena Wright* (August 3); Madeline H. D. Brown*, Chad Deverman*, Louis Parnell*, Marissa Keltie* (August 8).
In ENTANGLEMENT, AJ Baker brings us a play about a play about the quantum mechanics of love. It’s been twenty years since actors Emma and Luke were a couple, but they’re still connected by a net of loose ends and secrets. When Emma writes a thinly veiled roman-a-clef of a play and asks Luke to direct her in it, the struggle over who controls the story of their break-up –and its far-ranging results — becomes just as important as the script itself. Aided and abetted by Luke’s daughter and Emma’s husband, the former lovers turn Emma’s play into a backdrop for grappling with how their long-ago choices entangle them in each other’s lives forever.
*THE PLAYWRIGHT’S INSPIRATION From AJ Baker:
The story in ENTANGLEMENT is inspired by a subject I keep coming back to, in my work and my life: how do we deal with the consequences – however unintended – that our actions have on other people? In this play, I’m mixing a little bit of stage craft with a little bit of science to explore a variation on my favorite theme.
**A LITTLE BIT OF STAGE-CRAFT: The action in my play centers around the rehearsals of Emma’s play, which is also named ENTANGLEMENT. Emma has written her play in an attempt to show Luke something she feels unable to tell him. She’s not the first person to try this technique! The ghost of Shakespeare’s Hamlet –with its infamous play within a play to “catch the conscience of the king” –haunts both her script and mine (and so does the spectre of Pinter’s Betrayal ).
**A LITTLE BIT OF SCIENCE: I’ve always found physics fascinating, and in recent years I’ve become particularly fascinated by quantum mechanics, the branch of physics that deals with our universe at its most micro level. I’m no scientist, but there’s enough information out there in layman’s language to make dilletantes like me dangerous! Because last year was the fiftieth anniversary of John Stewart Bell’s groundbreaking paper on quantum entanglement, there’s plenty of commentary out there on what Einstein (derisively) called “spooky action at a distance.”
At its most simplistic, the theory of entanglement tells us that once two particles become entangled, what happens to one will always affect the other. The language of quantum mechanics sounds a lot like the language of love: particles become entangled, they have relationships with each other, they communicate across time and space, they are part of one system together. Fifty years after Bell’s Theorem was published, scientists are using entanglement to develop quantum cryptography, quantum computers, quantum-logic clocks and even quantum teleportation.
Given the huge scope and ever-increasing uses for quantum entanglement, why couldn’t an enterprising scientist — like the one in Emma’s play — come up with a quantum theory to explain love?
*DEVELOPMENT TO DATE
Conversation between AJ BAKER and PATRICIA MILTON, June 2015.
ENTANGLEMENT had its first reading on May 17, 2015, directed by Louis Parnell. The cast included Joseph Estlack*, Carrie Paff*, Louis Parnell * and Megan Trout. A second staged reading was presented by SF Playhouse on July 20, 2015, directed by Louis Parnell and featuring Joseph Estlack*, Carrie Paff*, Louis Parnell * and Elena Wright*.
*Member, Actor’s Equity. 3GT Staged Readings are presented in accordance with the AEA Bay Area Staged Reading Guidelines.
Alisa “AJ” Baker (Playwright) has had a varied career in the arts as a writer, producer and visual artist, but in recent years she’s focused her creative energy on playwriting and theatrical production. Her full-length plays include: GLICKMAN’S THIRD ACT (semi-finalist , 2011 Bay Area Playwrights Festival; staged readings ,Brava! for Women in the Arts (2011), PCSF (2010, 2011), Meadowsweet Dairy (2010)); THE RIGHT THING ( world premiere 2012, Thick House); THE ANNIVERSARY EFFECT (semi-finalist, 2015 Bay Area Playwrights’ Festival; finalist, 2014 3GT New Works Festival; finalist, Capital Repertory’s 2014 NEXT ACT! New Play Summit (Albany, NY).
Louis Parnell (Director) has worked extensively as an actor and director with numerous companies in the Bay Area including American Conservatory Theatre, Campo Santo, CCT, Center Repertory, CentralWorks, The Magic, Marin Theatre Company, SF Playhouse, TheatreWorks, Thick Description and Traveling Jewish Theatre; as well as with many smaller nomadic companies. He most recently appeared as the narrator in the SF Playhouse production of INTO THE WOODS. In 2015, he’ll direct 3GT’s world premiere production of MOMENTS OF TRUTH in San Francisco.