Madhuri Sheker’s writing is sharp, intelligent, and emotionally resonant

Photo courtesy TheatreWorks

By Camille Bounds

Camille Bounds

The thought-provoking and emotionally charged drama “Queen” delves into the complex world of scientific research and the personal lives of four PhD students. This fast-paced production, directed by Miriam A Laube, is a collaboration between TheatreWorks and EnActe Arts, currently running at the Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto.

The play follows best friends “Sanam” (Uma Paraniipe) and “Ariel” (Kjersteine Rose Anderson), who are researching the collapse of bee colonies worldwide. As they navigate the challenges of academia and dream of breaking the glass ceiling, a flaw in their research threatens their friendship, careers, and even Sanam’s arranged marriage. The cast, including Mike Ryan as “Dr. Philip Hayes” and Deven Kolluri as “Arvind,” delivers powerful performances that breathe life into their characters’ personal struggles.

Director Miriam A Laube skillfully guides the ensemble, ensuring that each character’s story is given equal weight and attention. The entire cast remains on stage throughout the production, adding to the intensity and intimacy of the play. Laube’s sensitive and authoritative direction, combined with the well-rehearsed stage crew’s smooth scene changes, creates a seamless and engaging experience for the audience.

“Queen” raises important questions about the responsibilities of scientists and the ethical dilemmas they face when their research has far-reaching consequences. With ecological disaster looming, Sanam and Ariel must decide whether to withdraw their findings or compromise them to protect the planet. The play expertly explores the tension between personal ambition and the greater good, leaving the audience to ponder these weighty issues long after the curtain falls.

Madhuri Sheker’s writing is sharp, intelligent, and emotionally resonant, making “Queen” a must-see for anyone who enjoys thought-provoking and exceptionally well-crafted theater. The collaboration between TheatreWorks and EnActe Arts has resulted in a production that is both timely and relevant, as it grapples with the urgent environmental concerns of our time.

“Queen” is a captivating and emotionally charged exploration of science, ethics, and friendship that showcases the immense talent of its cast and creative team. This production is not to be missed and is sure to leave a lasting impact on all who experience it.

The show runs from March 6-31 at the Lucie Stern Theater in Palo Alto.

Click HERE for tickets

Camille Bounds is the theater reviewer for Gilroy Life and Morgan Hill Life