Playwright Garret Schneider talks about “Clockwork Child”2
As this is my first blog post for Fox Valley Rep, I think I should start with a little bit of an introduction. I am Collider Playwright Garret Schneider, and am currently working on a play called “Clockwork Child”, about the destruction of an idea created between two scientists.
For me, the collaborative process (be it in anything that you collaborate with: writing, group work, music, construction), is one of shared investment. If everyone works together perfectly, then something truly beautiful can be created (everyone has their own strength and you could create a work made entirely of people’s strengths).
Building on that idea, the collaborative process, the genesis and execution of ideas, seems to find a direct parallel in parenting and raising a child. If two collaborators work tirelessly on an idea, have it gestate, and do all they can for it, they introduce it to the world. They bring their baby out for everyone to admire.
But, what if, as a mother, you have a different idea of what your child needs than the father does? Your child. When an idea is collaboratively created, who has ownership of it? Who decides what the next step is, who has the greatest say in the future?
Clockwork Child examines that question on the deathbed of a very real Victorian Scientist, Ada Lovelace, who failed collaboration with Charles Babbage could have resulted in the first computer, one-hundred year before the first computer was actually made.
Charles was the first inventor, while Ada perfected it, marketed it, and predicted to people (even Babbage himself) what the potential for the machine [the Analytical Engine] was. It is on Ada’s deathbed that she and Babbage have an argument which rips her from her current world and puts her in the past, where she must deter her younger self from ever embarking on the path of science.
This play is over many subjects that I am extremely passionate about: scientific exploration, gender inequality in science, birth of various subcultures (steampunk), and the lives of people with astounding mental abilities.
It is my hope that his play takes its audience on a journey, and that I can use history to help find parellels in their own struggle to achieve what is most important to them. For while Ada tries to destroy her past scientific self, she is really showing her own strength and commitment to scientific thought.
-Garret Schneider, Collider Playwright
Collider New Play Project is a part of the St. Charles Summer Theater Festival (July 14 – 31, 2011).