by Carey Perloff
Winner, Best Original Script,
Bay Area Theater Critics Award, 2008
Premiere: Ensemble Studio Theater, New York
Directed by Will Pomerantz
West Coast Premiere: A.C.T. & Magic Theater, San Francisco
Directed by Mark Rucker
Published by Dramatists Play Service
"Have you seen a 7-foot naked statue that seems to have disappeared off the face of the Earth?' This is the central mystery driving Carey Perloff's new romantic thriller about three archaeologists linked in an obsessive search for the Praxitiles Aphrodite, a tall marble nude that aroused fixations in 5th-century B.C. before vanishing without a trace. When a disturbing burial ground of murdered children is excavated in Cyprus, the mystery of the missing statue deepens. Much of the play's dramatic tension comes from the characters' opposing professional ideologies. Driven by instinct, emotion and (at times unethical) passion, Angela (Rene Augesen) clashes with former lover Nigel (Stephen Barker Turner), a military historian who has no patience for subjectivity in his research. Victor (an excellent Gregory Wallace) provides needed humor as the queer theorist caught between the other two... LUMINESCENCE DATING works wonderfully as a thrilling and intellectually stimulating Indiana-Jones style puzzle."
–– NATHANIEL EATON, SF WEEKLY
“The romance of archaeology gets tangled with the archaeology of romance” (SF Chronicle) in this mystery about a lost statue of Aphrodite and the search to discover how she got destroyed.
Perloff’s communication with the audience is immediate and effective, even if it requires some actual lecture scenes, information imparted as the characters teach an invisible class."
–– SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER
LUMINESCENCE DATING, Ensemble Studio Theater, 2008, René Augesen, Gregory Wallace, Photo by David Wilson
LUMINESCENCE DATING, Ensemble Studio Theater, 2008, John Wojda, Betsy Aidem
"Nigel (John Wojda) and Angela (Betsy Aidem) are archaeologists on quests: he to solve the mystery of the very small crushed helmets he has found in Cyprus; she to find the missing Praxiteles Aphrodite, a seven-foot-tall marble nude that aroused obsessions in the 4th century B.C. but then vanished without a trace.
As in Tom Stoppard's cerebral mysteries, there's a satisfying click in Carey Perloff's new play, "Luminescence Dating," each time a piece of these puzzles falls into place. Presented by the Ensemble Studio Theater with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Science and Technology Project, which commissions artists "to challenge the existing stereotypes of scientists and engineers in the popular imagination," the play succeeds at conveying the delights of intellectual collaboration. It rattles with sly wit and with the great narrative drama that can be dug from the past."
–– NEW YORK TIMES