note: entire contents copyright 2010 by Sheila Barth
When Gioia De Carií performed her autobiographical one-woman play, ďTruth Values: One Girlís Romp Through MITís Male Math Maze,Ē in New York and San Francisco, both runs sold out. The play enjoyed similar success last year when it was extended a week after its originally-scheduled eight-day run at Central Square Theater.
This year, De Cari is garnering more critical and audience praise as she prances, dances, sings, crawls, while portraying herself and several characters, during her stint at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). At the time, she hoped to get a Ph.D. in math but settled on a masterís degree instead.
De Cariís energy and versatility are boundless. She relates the high and low points of her life and career - that she was adopted and wanted more than anything to emulate her adored, adoptive dad. Beside being a brilliant, accomplished, loving and caring person, he also was an animated storyteller, she says. In ďTruth Values,Ē De Cari easily achieves that goal, by gathering receptive audiences, winning awards, and criticsí approval.
On a bare, black stage, with only a white chair and a tiny table, De Cari races back to the 1980s, when she was a summa cum laude graduate of University of California at Berkeley, and was encouraged to seek her advanced degree at MIT. She married immediately upon graduation and moved to Massachusetts to enter the wonderful world of math at the esteemed college. However, she didnít expect her male professorsí condescending attitude, such as getting the cookies for the weekly seminars, or why-arenít-you-home-with-husband-and-babies-since-youíre-married attitude?
De Cari also didnít expect the standoffish attitude from her fellow female students, and was mildly affected when she created a maelstrom of objection during a fashion experiment - changing her feminine Lady Diana and dirndl clothing to a wilder fashion statement.
During her studies, she sought refuge in the theater, singing, taking vocal lessons in the college ďacross the bridge,Ē and performing in musical theater. She realized she loved performing, but didnít want to disappoint her dad - or herself - in achieving her original goal. Unfortunately, tragedy averts all that for awhile.
Without the benefit of costume change or other trappings De Cari transforms into her colorful fellow students and teachers. She also achieve another goal - making controversial former Harvard University Present-current director of National Economics Council Lawrence Summers eat the inflammatory words he uttered in 2005, inferring that women arenít as adept in science and engineering as men.
BOX INFO: One-act, 90-minute autobiographical play, written and performed by Gioia De Cari, directed by Miriam Eusebio, appearing at Central Square Theater, 450 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge through September 26. Performances are Wednesdays, Thursdays, 7:30 p.m.; Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Tickets are $40; seniors, $30; university students with ID, $25; 12-18 years old, $15; student rush tickets, if available, for $20 on the show day. Call 866-811-4111 or visit the Box Office or www.centralsquaretheater.org. For group discounts and more information, call 617-576-9278, Ext. 210.