Not everybody gets a sex life. Some of us just get cool computers.


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now then again is a romantic comedy with a brain-- a love story between two physicists. Set at Fermilab National Accelerator Laboratory, the script tells the story of Ginny and Henry, two scientists who find a future together despite her husband, his neuroses and their firm belief that there is no such thing as destiny.

This play had its world premiere in Chicago at the Bailiwick Repertory Theatre on February 17, 2000. The show quickly brought in packed houses and, within four weeks, it moved to the 500 seat main-stage at the Ivanhoe Theatre. There, it went on to win a Joseph Jefferson Citation for "Best New Work". It was published in 2002 by Broadway Play Publishing. A screenplay adaptation, titled Love is Brilliant, won the Sloan Prize at the 2005 Tribeca Film Festival.
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Charming... In Proof and in now then again the main characters, all in their 20's, find the pursuit of difficult knowledge no less enlivening and nervous-making than things like their careers, their families, their social graces, their hormones and their heartaches. I can't recall having seen similar types on the stage before... illuminating an obviously extant kind of life experience I'd never before considered but was delighted to discover.

--Bruce Weber

Stacks Image 496, funny and thoroughly captivating... one of the biggest critical and popular hits of Chicago's theatrical year...

--Chris Jones

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Recommended... a deft little romantic screwball comedy with a very brainy twist. It brings to mind some of Tom Stoppard's more intellectual theatrical hijinks. But it's also the kind of work that might have beguiled such 1930's and '40s era film directors as Frank Capra and Preston Sturges, who probably would have hired Albert Einstein as a script consultant.

--Hedy Weiss

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...the biggest belly laughs I've yet experienced in Chicago theatre...

--Ben Winters

Stacks Image 560 a season of snuggly-smothery love stories, it sparkles with a giddy splendor!

--Mary Shen Barnridge

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...a brilliant love story... a tightly woven tapestry of imaginative genius.

--Kathleen Tobin

A very provocative and surprising play about time, science fantasy, the portrayal of characters, and the eternals of love, chance and humor. These concepts are interwoven with the kind of imagination and artfulness that is characteristic of research at Fermilab.

--Leon Lederman,
Nobel Laureate;
Author of The God Particle

Enter the name for this tabbed section: Production Requirements

Fermilab National Accelerator Laboratory, Present Day

Run Time

2 Hours
Cast: 5M; 1F

HENRY: Male, mid-late 20's

GINNY: Female, early 20's

FELIX: Male, 50-70

CHRIS: Male, mid-late 20's

DR. TROUSANT: Male, 50-65

MINISTER, RABBI & BUSKER: Male or Female, 35-65

Enter the name for this tabbed section: Background Notes
The Physics Behind the Script, by John G. Cramer

Quantum mechanics, the physics theory of matter and energy at the smallest distance and energy scales, is a very weird theory indeed. It tells us of waves that spread out in all directions, then abruptly disappear like a pricked balloon when a measurement is made. It tells us of cats that are half alive and half dead until we look at them. It tells us of particles that can pass simultaneously through two holes, then reassemble themselves. It tells us of measurements separated by many miles that can reach across space-time to influence each other. It tells us of objects that can be viewed with light, without a single photon of light actually interacting with the object. The weirdness and paradoxes of quantum mechanics are a scandal that is a growing part of our popular culture.

Physics theories normally begin with an underlying vision of how the universe works, then build on this visual foundation with mathematics. Quantum mechanics, however, was a mathematical formalism that leaped full-grown from the heads of Schrodinger and Heisenberg without the preliminary of an underlying physical picture. Since that time more than 70 years ago, physicists and philosophers have been debating about what the underlying mechanisms behind quantum mechanics might be. Today there is still no consensus.

The missing physical vision is supplied by the transactional interpretation of quantum mechanics, which I published in 1986. It takes the psi-star part of the quantum formalism quite literally as a backwards-in-time wave; it depicts quantum events as a handshake between the future and the past through the medium of quantum waves that travel in both time directions. It thereby resolves all of the quantum paradoxes in a simple and economical way, without doing violence to cause-and-effect or relativity. (See John Gribbin's Schrodinger's Kittens and the Search for Reality or my original transactional interpretation paper for more information.)

Penny Penniston's new play now then again weaves this transactional handshake mechanism into a metaphor that is the basis for an appealing love story. The future interacts with the past; nature explores alternatives until it resolves them with a buildup to the final transaction. Of course, in the real macroscopic world, this is not actually how things work, but at the quantum scale the play is a nice map for thinking about the probings and development of a transaction that ultimately becomes an element of reality.