5 Questions with Heidi Powers, director of <i>Ada and the Engine</i>
5 Questions with Heidi Powers, director of Ada and the Engine
*Tell us a bit about yourself and your involvement in the local theatre scene. Where have we seen your work?
I wear a lot of different hats in the Los Angeles theatre community. I’m most known for co-writing musicals (like Bronies: The Musical) as well as producing and marketing (including Fancy: Secrets from my Bootydoir) but my longest-running passion for the medium is as a director. I hold a BFA in directing from the University of Michigan.
*Tell us about this script; what impressed you and made you want to do this show?
From the moment I opened Lauren Gunderson‘s script, I knew it was something special. Her language just… dances off the page. One thing that dazzles me in particular is how she captures the way each person’s rhythm changes from relationship to relationship. Thematically, Gunderson hits a really cathartic spot for me, as well; I’m always hunting for the balance between the artistic and the analytical, and I love the way this play embraces both.
*Give us a sneak peek at the production. What are you excited to show audiences with Ada and the Engine?
Ada was passionate about music and its power to transport, and Gunderson’s play whisks us swiftly through decades and experiences (and even planes of existence!). So our production uses music and movement to weave it all together. Our exceptional cast is working with our choreographer, Roger Fojas, to workshop pieces inspired by the machines that Babbage and Lovelace dreamed up, and I can’t wait to share those visions with our audience.
*Share your thoughts on Ada herself. What were you surprised to learn about her?
I had certainly heard about Ada before reading the play, but I was genuinely shocked to discover that she was born Ada Byron. Yes, THAT Lord Byron was her father! I was also stunned that her mother, embittered by Byron’s… Byron-ness… pushed Ada into mathematics as a means of controlling her daughter’s wild side. While much of that “wild” side was her creativity and her fiery personal agency, Ada really did have a fiery streak… whether she was attempting to elope with a tutor, racking up horse-racing debts, even (gasp!) secretly writing poetry. She certainly was her father’s child, no matter how her mother tried to prevent it.
*Speaking of surprises, what don’t we know about you? Any hobbies, skills, obsessions you’d care to share?
When I’m not directing or writing (or doing marketing and publicity for the studios) I’m usually indulging in a new creative hobby. I find that the best way to keep my artistic juices coursing is to learn to make something else entirely. I’ve dabbled in graphic design, embroidery, lifestyle blogging and zentangle doodling, but this year I’m mastering the art of royal icing. There’s something soothing about watching a jumbled drizzle smooth itself into a perfectly smooth surface. If you visit concessions at the show, perhaps you’ll even get to try the fruits of my labor!
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Our amazing director @powerswaterworks made ones and zeros cookies for the first read through of ADA AND THE ENGINE! . . #adalovelace #womeninscience #stem #scientist #mathematician #womenandgirlsinscience #programming #entrantressofnumbers #innovator #womeninhistory #computerprogrammer #adasalgorithim #coder #motherofcomputerprogramming #musicandmath #steam #womenempowerment #historyplay #historyofcomputers #cookies #lordbyron #charlesbabbage #womenmakehistory #womeninstem #marysommerville #newplay #lathtr #theatre #losangelestheatre #laurengunderson
Tickets are on sale now for Ada and the Engine, opening March 21st!
Theatre Unleashed is an itinerant 501(c)(3) Non-Profit membership-driven ensemble theatre company, currently producing at studio/stage in Hollywood, CA. The company’s mission is to embody original stories, shed light upon lesser-known works by known playwrights, and put new twists on old favorites; all for discerning Los Angeles audiences.