Baylor theatre puts on “An Experiment With an Air Pump”

Baylor University Theatre will be showing “An Experiment with an Air Pump” beginning at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Conroe junior Lucas McCutchen plays the role of Roget and Houston junior Noah Alderfer plays the roles of Armstrong and Phil. Photo credit: Jessica Hubble

By Ben Woolley | Reporter

Telling the tales of two decades of secrets and family conflicts, Baylor University Theatre is releasing it’s second play this semester- “An Experiment with an Air Pump.” The performance will be held at 7:30 p.m. today through Saturday and 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday in Jones Theatre. This will be Baylor Theatre’s last production of the semester before “Dancing at Lughnash” runs early in the spring semester.

Baylor University Theatre will be showing “An Experiment with an Air Pump” beginning at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Flower Mound junior Morgan Maxey plays the role of Maria Fenwick. Photo credit: Jessica Hubble

The play, written by Shelagh Stephenson, is directed by Laura Nicholas and is inspired by the 1768 painting “An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump” by Joseph Wright. In the painting, a group of people huddle around by candlelight, eager for the results of an experiment.

“In the play, science and humanity clash on the brink of revolution. The play follows a suspense-filled journey through two decades connected by secrets of the Fenwick family household,” The Baylor University Theatre website states.

The conflict on display in Stephenson’s writing and Nicholas’ production aims to be as spooky and evocative as the candlelit scene from the painting.

“Science and human nature clash, run parallel and intersect, but both are captured in Stephenson’s work of art, inspired by Joseph Wright’s painting,” Nicholas said.

Actors in “An Experiment With an Air Pump” are excited about the production as well. One actor said that it looks at the ethics of dabbling with life and death. It examines how the questions that have been asked about science haven’t really changed while other things in life have.

“I think it asks some pretty important questions about what happens when humans try to play God too much and where the line exists for morality’s sake,” said Rockwall senior Meredith Bennett, who plays the parts of Susannah and Ellen.

Baylor Theatre has been successful in their recent production in the eyes of some Baylor students.

“I had to go see ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ for my theater appreciation class, and I ended up loving it,” Katy junior Christian John Kearton said. “I can’t wait to go see this next play now. ‘Fiddler’ was so entertaining, and it was nice to get a break from everything and just sit back and watch.”