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Thought-Provoking Play at Babson’s Sorenson Center for the Arts

On October 24 and 26 at 7pm and October 25 at 2pm and 7pm, in the Carling-Sorenson Theatre at Babson’s Sorenson Center for the Arts, The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow, will open and run for four performances. The Obie-winning and Pulitzer-nominated play is written by Rolin Jones.

Olin College Psychology Professor Jon Adler is directing the play as part of the Babson-Olin-Wellesley (BOW) initiative.

The play centers around Jennifer Marcus, a 22-year-old engineer, who was an all-star student, but whose life has taken a downward turn. She has obsessive-compulsive disorder, leading to conflicts at home. Marcus eventually uses her engineering skills to design a robot, Jenny Chow, which she hopes will travel to China to meet her birth mother.

“This play very much speaks to our current moment. It grapples with the role of technology in our lives, the seductiveness of the virtual world, and the tension between the opportunities and the dangers involved in looking outside ourselves for the answers to our most pressing questions,” said Adler.

As the play unfolds, it raises many questions, not the least of which is what would a robot look like if designed by a 22-year-old Asian American woman, instead of the hypersexualized, white-and-chrome robots that can be found in so many pop culture movies and TV shows. Those pop culture robots seem predominantly designed by and for middle-aged white men.

The broad themes fit across the curricula of the BOW collaborative. Adler says more than10 courses across the BOW colleges are requiring the play as a class assignment, everything from Machine Learning (Olin), to Intro to Acting (Babson), to Cross-Cultural Psychology (Wellesley), to Foundations of Management and Entrepreneurship (Babson). 

The cast and crew includes students from both Olin and Babson. Olin’s Emma Pan plays Jenny Chow and Jonah Spicher plays her father.  The crew of Oliners includes Eamon O’Brien, Peter Seger, Lacie Fradet, Katie Thai-Tang, and Jasper Katzban working on creating the technical world of this play.  The play was funded in part from BabsonArts, and The Empty Space Theater. The production is also supported by a BOW Presidential Innovation Grant.

Tickets are available here.