‘The How and the Why’ to open at Corner Playhouse

With only two actors, the theatre department’s latest play promises to hit heavy subjects and leave audience thinking.

Intimacy is taken to a whole new level in “The How and the Why,” the MU theatre department’s upcoming two-person play.

The play centers on two female scientists, one at the end of her career and the other just beginning, on the brink of discovery. Along the way, they have difficult conversations about gender, life, love and power.

Graduate student Rachel Bauer is the director of “The How and the Why.” This is her first time directing for the theatre department.

“My goal was to place the audience in close proximity, both physically and emotionally, to this situation,” Bauer said.

She said the play “calls attention to the struggles and sacrifices women have had to make in order to achieve academic and research goals.”

While the dialogue might be heavy with jargon and science-speak, the messages come out shining and clear — “The How and the Why” is an exploration of real life issues in the academic sphere.

Although small in cast, with only two characters in the production, “The How and the Why” is not small in stature. It explores heavy and difficult themes, such as gender equality, survival of the fittest, women in science and generational gaps. Bauer said because of this, there is great risk in the execution.

“At the heart of this play is a risk … I want the audience to really experience that risk,” she said.

“The How and the Why” is not going to distract its audience with a nice story intended to transport them, she said. It is hard-hitting and delves deep into topics that might cause discomfort.

Senior Gina Drapela takes the role of Rachel Hardeman, the younger of the two scientists.

“I really hope the audience sees the amount of commitment and emotion I’ve put into this production,” Drapela said. “This play is so powerful and meaningful to me in my last semester.”

“The How and the Why” opens Oct. 29 at the Corner Playhouse. Bauer said she wants the audience to leave the theatre thinking.

“We can only have equality if we have individuals who are willing to advocate for social justice,” she said.

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