You need to meet Jenny Chow. She’ll be visiting in late October and you’re going to love her.
She’s a robot and she’s amazing.
Jenny was created by Jennifer Marcus, the lead character in the play I’m directing this fall as part of a BOW initiative. You’ll like Jennifer too, or at least you’ll recognize her, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll see some of yourself in her. Jennifer is a 22-year-old California girl with astounding engineering skills. She was basically an academic rock star in high school. As she says in the play, “I got a job reengineering obsolete missile components after I lost my job at the mall.”
But in the past few years, things have started to go downhill. Jennifer has obsessive-compulsive disorder and that makes it hard to leave her house. It’s put a ton of strain on her family and she’s in constant struggle with her parents. She’s recently become consumed with meeting her birth mother in China, but since she can’t leave the house, she creates Jenny to fly across the Pacific and find her. Yeah, there’s a lot going on in this play.
Jenny is a lot like Jennifer. She’s kind of Jennifer’s idealized version of herself. And that means she’s not the hypersexualized, glossy, white-and-chrome robot from so many movies and TV shows – the ones predominantly designed by and for middle-aged white dudes. What would a robot look like if it were designed today by a 22-year-old Asian-American woman to represent herself?
Come find out!
The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow will have four performances on the Sorenson mainstage over at Babson (an easy walk from Olin): Thursday, October 24 at 7pm, Friday, October 25 at 2pm and 7pm, and Saturday, October 26 at 7pm. You can get tickets here: https://www.babson.edu/student-life/babsonarts/theater/ (Student tix are $5, but if this poses a hardship for any reason, please let Jon know and he will make sure that finances do not stand between you and this play!) It’s likely that some of the performances will sell out, so we’re strongly recommending you get your tickets in advance.
The cast and crew includes students from both Olin and Babson. Our very own Emma Pan is playing Jenny. Jonah Spicher plays her Dad. We’ve also got an amazing team of Oliners (including Eamon O’Brien, Peter Seger, Lacie Fradet, Katie Thai-Tang, and Jasper Katzban) working on creating the technical world of this play. The students are supported by an all-star team of professional designers who have created Jennifer’s two-story house and have a ton of theater magic up their sleeves to surprise and delight you.
In addition to major funding from BabsonArts, and The Empty Space Theater, the production is supported by a BOW Presidential Innovation Grant, and the three college Provosts said they hope it will be “a common text across the three colleges.” There are somewhere between 10-15 courses across the BOW colleges requiring the play as a class assignment, everything from Machine Learning (Olin), to Intro to Acting (Babson), to Cross-Cultural Psychology (Wellesley), to Foundations of Management and Entrepreneurship (Babson).
We will have a brief (15 min) curated conversations after each performance to talk about the many ideas the play provokes. I’ve certainly been thinking a lot about what it means for me to be at the helm of the team telling this story and I’d love to talk with you about that. It’s going to be awesome.
This play is hilarious and sad. It’s intense and quirky and challenging and fun. It gives us so much to talk about.
We hope you’ll join us!
(And, don’t forget to join FWOP in November for their hilarious, campy romp through the ABBA-fueled world of Mamma Mia! Two big plays on campus in one semester – could we be any luckier?!)