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  Ada And The Engine Reviews
Ada And The Engine
The Artistic Home

  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Reader- Somewhat Recommended

"...Despite intricate performances from Brookelyn Hťbert as Lovelace and John Mossman as Babbage, the first 90 minutes of this two-hour drama feel more like the spinning of gears than the unfolding of lives. Director Monica Payne's crystal-clear production could benefit from a healthy injection of ambiguity."
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Justin Hayford



Windy City Times- Recommended

"...At one point, Ada observes that in polite society, one may be boring, or confusing, but not both at once. Gunderson's abrupt shift in narrative mode, coupled with the aural crossfire produced thereby, may unbalance our comprehension temporarily, but the Artistic Home has never met a text that it couldn't wrestle to the mat. Under the unhurried direction of Monica Payne, the cast led by John Mossman and Brookelyn Hebert ( the latter garbed in Zachary Wagner's ingenious peel-away period ball gown ) as the brainy soulmates ensure that however Gunderson's ill-advised plunge into magic realism may confuse, it never bores."
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Mary Shen Barnidge



NewCity Chicago- Somewhat Recommended

"..."Tonight we prove our poise," says Anabella to her rebellious Ada before an important matchmaking ball. But poise is just what this breathy, twitchy, overheated show lacks. There's a good play to be written about the birth of the computer age, that late byproduct of the Industrial Revolution and the era's obsession with speed, power and control. "Ada and the Engine," which has little movement, energy or driving purpose, is not it."
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Hugh Iglarsh



WTTW- Highly Recommended

"...Directed with heat and clarity by Monica Payne, the in-the-round production unfolds in an ingenious modern environment of sharply angled neon tubes devised by Eleanor Kahn and Cat Wilson, with handsome period costumes by Zachery Wagner. And this juxtaposition of eras cleverly suggests the insightful past, present and future envisioned by Lovelace (as does the play's haunting final scene that should not be disclosed here)."
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Hedy Weiss



Chicago Theatre Review- Recommended

"...After the show, I couldnít help thinking of Proof, another show about a gifted mathematician reckoning with her fatherís legacy. Hereís hoping in another hundred and sixty years, we wonít still have to write dramas about women getting treated terribly for being good at math. When the story is focused on watching a woman come up against everyone elseís expectations for her, it really, really works. When the show indulges in the connections to Lord Byron, I think the show loses some steam, but that does not diminish a compelling story performed by a talented cast."
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Kevin Curran



Third Coast Review- Highly Recommended

"...Director Payne does a stunning job of staging Gundersonís inventive history; itís a love story about numbers and logic as well as about people. Both Hebert and Mossman are flawless in creating their characters. Eleanor Kahnís scenic and props design and Cat Wilsonís lighting create a hyper-modern setting of lighted beams, suggesting structures, in the Artistic Homeís black box theater. Sound design is by Petter Wahlback. Zachary Wagnerís traditional costuming for both women and men balances the 21st/19th century perspective. His striking gown for Ada is structured in sections, removed piece by piece as her life and career progress."
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Nancy Bishop



Chicago On Stage- Highly Recommended

"...Like Tom Stoppard's Arcadia, Ada and the Engine is a provocative play using mathematics as a means to see the future. Ada is a true visionary, and important change has always relied on visionaries. If she and Babbage had had the advantage of living in a world with electronics, they might well have done what Steve Jobs and Bill Gates did. As it is, though they were far ahead of their times, they planted the seed that ultimately blossomed into the information age. The Artistic Home has found a worthy followup to its multiple Jeff Award winning Requiem for a Heavyweight, and anyone who appreciates complex thought should enjoy Ada."
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Karen Topham



Picture This Post- Highly Recommended

"...This script in lesser hands might flop perhaps, but in this writer's view, one reason why we are absolutely captivated from beginning to end is because the actors all are top shelf, with perfect but easy to understand accents, and the direction by Monica Payne is tight down to seconds."
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Amy Munice



Rescripted- Somewhat Recommended

"... The real Ada Lovelace did choose to be buried next to Lord Byron, and keep up a years long friendship and correspondence with Charles Babbage. She probably had interesting reasons for doing both of those things despite the social risk she took in doing both. Iím disappointed by the disinterest Ada and the Engine shows for Ada Lovelaceís actual thoughts, ideas, and feelings. Lovelace is remembered not just as the first person to write something resembling a computer program, but as the first person to look past the computational applications of a computer-like machine, to applications involving art and culture. The play treats her mathematical abilities and philosophical ideas like minor points in a love triangle. This made the play feel flat to me, and left little room for her characterís development. There was a stagnancy to Ada and the Engine that left me wanting more as an audience member, but also felt like a disservice to Ada Lovelace as a unique and thought-provoking historical figure."
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Elon Sloan



TheatreWorld Internet Magazine- Highly Recommended

"...Ada and the Engine is highly recommended as a moving intellectual treatise, exalting a great heroine. Playwright Lauren Gunderson has stayed true to historic fact and included the wish t to impart to this incredible woman that her existence was not in vain, she changed the world forever with her work."
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