Da Bomb

Before it was a radio drama performed live before an audience and broadcast into millions of homes, the script for Peter Goodchild’s classic The Real Dr. Strangelove: Edward Teller and the Battle for the H-Bomb was a courtroom transcript. Taken directly from the trial of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the American theoretical physicist and professor of physics who developed the first nuclear weapons in the 1940s, the play makes entertainment out of the most famous battle ever to grip the scientific community.

It’s been done before, of course. Stanley Kubrick’s classic black comedy, Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, is based on Teller’s story, as well. But Goodchild’s approach isn’t comedic; he’s using the testimony of Teller, the Hungarian-born physicist who believed in “peace through strength,” against Oppenheimer to tell a larger story about the Red Scare of the 1940s.

Their courtroom tangle makes for compelling theater, and will be performed at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.

Thu., Feb. 10, 7:30 p.m., 2011
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Robrt L. Pela has been a weekly contributor to Phoenix New Times since 1991, primarily as a cultural critic. His radio essays air on National Public Radio affiliate KJZZ's Morning Edition.
Contact: Robrt L. Pela