Friday, March 26, 2010

pluto vs eris

pluto vs eris, originally uploaded by BillRhodesPhoto.

ABOUT THE PLAY: Pluto v. Eris: The Trial of Discord was written by an Asheville local in response to the conflict over the change in Pluto’s planetary status and in celebration of the human drive to discover. The one act play will be performed in the Vance Planetorium in West Asheville by 17 local actors ranging in age from 13 to 74. Performances will be on Friday & Saturday, March 26 and 27 at 8pm with a suggested donation of $8. The multi-media play is a fund-raiser for Vance's NASA program.

The performance coincides with the 400th anniversary of the publication of Galileo’s book, The Starry Messenger.

Haumea and Makemake, a Polynesian god and goddess (and also two of the newly discovered dwarf planets), introduce the play and comment on the Greek/Roman gods and goddesses as they gather for the Council of Celestial Beings. The Council assembles to hear charges against Eris, goddess of Discord, who is accused of treason and general mayhem by Pluto, god of the Underworld. Jupiter sits as judge, but is soon rousted by unexpected visitors. Is all the trouble really over past wrongs committed by Eris in long ago family lore? Or are more recent, non-mythical discoveries at the heart of the conflict? Who will decide Eris’ fate?

There will be several surprises at this Council—in fact, one could say a bit of Discord is in the cards for all who are gathered—gods, goddesses, planets, and humans all.

Though being performed at an elementary school and involving life-size puppets and shadow puppetry, Pluto v. Eris is definitely NOT a children’s play, but a humorous and playful look at ancient myth and timeless human anxieties over the role of innovation and change. Older children, youth, and adults, especially those who love myth, theater, and/or astronomy, are encouraged to attend this unique theatrical adventure.

1 comment:

Laurel Kornfeld said...

The IAU demotion of Pluto was definitely a change in the wrong direction. Only four percent of the IAU voted on the controversial demotion, and most are not planetary scientists. Their decision was immediately opposed in a formal petition by hundreds of professional astronomers led by New Horizons Principal Investigator Dr. Alan Stern. One reason the IAU definition makes no sense is it says dwarf planets are not planets at all! That is like saying a grizzly bear is not a bear, and it is inconsistent with the use of the term “dwarf” in astronomy, where dwarf stars are still stars, and dwarf galaxies are still galaxies. Also, the IAU definition classifies objects solely by where they are while ignoring what they are. If Earth were in Pluto’s orbit, according to the IAU definition, it would not be a planet either. A definition that takes the same object and makes it a planet in one location and not a planet in another is essentially useless. Pluto is a planet because it is spherical, meaning it is large enough to be pulled into a round shape by its own gravity–a state known as hydrostatic equilibrium and characteristic of planets, not of shapeless asteroids held together by chemical bonds. These reasons are why many astronomers, lay people, and educators are either ignoring the demotion entirely or working to get it overturned.