From the Studio: The Civic’s “Photograph 51”


Director Susan Hardie and her cast preview a play about an unsung science pioneer

Susan Hardie, Joshua Baig, Ryan Wasson, Nicholas Roy Morgan III and Jeffrey Phillips Christiansen talked to E.J. Iannelli in the KPBX studio about Photograph 51, Anna Ziegler’s semi-fictionalized play about the pioneering researcher Rosalind Franklin.

Hardie is directing this new production at the Spokane Civic Theatre. Baig, Wasson, Morgan and Phillips Christiansen are playing dramatized versions of the real-life scientific figures Maurice Wilkins, James Watson, Raymond Gosling and Francis Crick, respectively.

Photograph 51 is named for the specialized photo captured by Gosling and Franklin (played here by Chelsea DuVall) that helped confirm the helical structure of B-DNA.

The photo wound up in the hands of Crick and Watson, who would, along with Wilkins, go on be awarded the 1962 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for this DNA breakthrough. Franklin had passed away in the meantime, and her contribution to the key discovery was downplayed or ignored outright.

Photograph 51 opens tomorrow (Friday, Jan. 13) in the Spokane Civic Theatre’s Firth J. Chew studio space, and it runs there until February 5, 2023.

For tickets and more information, visit the Spokane Civic Theatre’s website.


Photo: Savanna Rothe