Magellanica

In 1985, an international group of scientists travel to Antarctica to find out if there really is a hole in the sky. During the eight and a half months that they spend locked in together at the South Pole research station, they work and study and love and fight... and try to figure out the life-changing implications of their discoveries.

Magellanica is a fictional account of a very real moment in...
In 1985, an international group of scientists travel to Antarctica to find out if there really is a hole in the sky. During the eight and a half months that they spend locked in together at the South Pole research station, they work and study and love and fight... and try to figure out the life-changing implications of their discoveries.

Magellanica is a fictional account of a very real moment in history, when the existence of a hole in the ozone layer became the subject of international debate. At the center of the story, a Russian climatologist and an American climatologist are forced to set aside their countries' Cold War hostilities and work together to figure out what is happening. But there is more at stake than that. An African American engineer must leave behind the ghosts that followed him home from the Vietnam War in order to become a real leader to this expedition. A young Chinese-American physicist loses her way in the wake of two losses, and finds her calling. A British glaciologist finds alarming data on glacier melt and reveals long-hidden secrets about himself. A jack of all trades becomes an indispensible part of the team. A Norwegian ornithologist turns his careful gaze on the people around him. And a Bulgarian cartographer steps into the undiscovered country in order to draw his new and accurate map of the world. All of the eight scientists and engineers begin to learn, in this small, cold crucible, how much they depend upon each other for their very survival.

This play is epic in both scope and scale. It reaches back to the heroic early Antarctic explorers, and forward to the issue of climate change that we are grappling with today. It wrestles with our historic western acts of Empire building and "manifest destiny," and our current need to create real global partnerships that are fair and balanced.

Magellanica is about how capable we are of creating a healthier, more peaceful, harmonious global community -- while recognizing how challenging it can be. It celebrates scientific endeavor. It demands that we set aside political differences to work for the common good. It is determinedly diverse -- a representation of our world in these eight men and women that celebrates their unique perspectives, languages, and cultures. It is big and bold and theatrical.
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Magellanica

Recommended by

  • Rachel Bublitz:
    30 Apr. 2018
    E. M. Lewis is my hero! In a time in which all the advice to playwrights is make it smaller; one set, no act breaks, small cast, she writes this beautiful and epic play that is the opposite of all of those things. The amount of research and specificity that went into this play is staggering. I laughed reading this play, I cried a lot reading this play, it is an urgent and essential piece of theater that should be being produced around the country right now. It has my highest recommendation.
  • Ian August:
    14 Feb. 2018
    It is a testament to the playwright that in a story about eight people who are trapped--by their inhospitable surroundings, by the limitations of the facilities, by their preconceptions about one another, and by their own feelings of inadequacy--Lewis finds a way to free each and every one of them. It is long, it is riveting, it is emotional, it is eye-opening. It is a masterpiece. Read this play. Produce this play. And if you happen to be somewhere it is playing, see this play.
  • Rachael Carnes:
    12 Feb. 2018
    I had the extraordinary opportunity to attend the world premier of this play at Artists Rep in Portland, OR. Lewis has created a prescient and revealing work, one that explores the very nature of what it means to be human on the edge of — A place of deep discovery and disconnect, of sheltering and isolation. Set in the mid-1980's, at a moment when it's revealed that we are entering a new era where we humans are changing the earth's atmosphere, what? When? How will change happen? This work is of and by and for our time. It is genius.

Development History

  • Reading
    ,
    PlayFest Santa Barbara
    ,
    2016
  • Workshop
    ,
    William Inge Center for the Arts
    ,
    2014
  • Workshop
    ,
    TimeLine Theater in Chicago
    ,
    2014
  • Reading
    ,
    Project Y in NYC
    ,
    2013
  • Reading
    ,
    Playwrights Theater of New Jersey - Emerging Women Playwrights Program
    ,
    2013
  • Reading
    ,
    The Lark
    ,
    2012
  • Reading
    ,
    Moving Arts in Los Angeles
    ,
    2012

Production History

  • Professional
    ,
    Artists Repertory Theater
    ,
    2018

Awards

Winner
,
Edgerton Award
,
Edgerton Foundation
,
2018