UPDATE: Cardinal Stage's presentation of "Ada and the Engine" is canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Cardinal Stage will announce more details about its cancellation policy on Monday.
Cardinal Stage will present the play “Ada and the Engine,” a story based on the life of Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer. According to Cardinal Stage's website, performances are Thursdays through Saturdays from March 26-April 11 in the Ivy Tech Waldron Auditorium.
Artistic director Kate Galvin said that the show’s biggest struggle right now is the possibility of a shrinking audience due to coronavirus.
Cardinal Stage's marketing manager, Cassie Hakken, said Thursday that for the time being, the performances will not be canceled. According to an official statement from Cardinal Stage, ticket exchange fees will be waved, Ivy Tech's Waldron Auditorium will undergo an enhanced sanitization procedure and performances will be capped at 100 people with the exception of March 28.
Galvin said she wants IU students to attend the show, but IU’s cancellation of face-to-face classes might affect that goal. Galvin said good news is the show has some performances scheduled after April 6, when the students are currently scheduled to return to campus.
The story takes place in 1800s Victorian England and focuses on Lovelace and her struggles as a woman who wants to pursue math and science. The play depicts various important moments in her life such as when she teamed up with Charles Babbage, a well-known inventor and mathematician in the 1800s, to create the first version of a computer program.
The play is written by playwright Lauren Gunderson.
Lovelace does not get much recognition for the work she did, said fine arts graduate student Glynnis Marcelle, who plays Lovelace. Marcelle said Lovelace was burdened by social structures and the expectations for women in the 1800s.
“She is not a product of her age,” Marcelle said. “She was a product placed outside of her age.”
Marcelle said she can identify with Lovelace because in the show, Lovelace expresses that she feels like she has fewer opportunities as a woman.
“What woman in this time and age hasn’t gone through a point in their life where they went, ‘Man, if only I were fill-in-the-blank?’” she said.
Eric Olson, who plays Babbage, said he thinks it is good the story is being told now.
“I think it’s fantastic to see her get the recognition that’s due to her,” Olson said. “It really puts focus on a woman who played a huge part in our society today and was such a visionary.”
Kate Galvin, the show’s artistic director, said she thinks it is an important show regarding gender equality, and she thinks it will inspire women who want to go into STEM.
“I feel like as an artist, the best thing I can do to help level the playing field is to show people more representation of incredible women,” Galvin said. “Especially, I think it’s important in the areas of science and technology.”
Marcelle said she attempted to learn the math terminology used in the show.
“I feel like it’s important because otherwise, I have no idea what I’m saying,” Marcelle said.
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