> Colin Thomas

No Belles may not be formally ambitious, but it is very well crafted—like a nicely cobbled shoe or a beautifully bound book.

With a feminist spin, three actors tell the story of eight female scientists. All of these researchers had to deal with institutional sexism, which limited their incomes and fuelled condescension. Rosalind Franklin made a significant contribution to the understanding of DNA, for instance, but her colleague James D. Watson dismissed her as a bluestocking and said she’d be prettier without her glasses. She never wore any.

Basically, the performers stand and deliver—or sit and deliver—their information. But there are effective twists. The material about Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, who identified HIV, is repeatedly punctuated by a quiet refrain from a dying man: “Thank you. Not for me. For the others.”

Ultimately, in the text and the openhearted performances, it’s the stoicism and altruism of the scientists that comes through. And that’s what brought tears to my eyes. 

Remaining performances at the False Creek Gym on September 13 (6:40 p.m.), 15 (5:15 p.m.), and 16 (2:45 p.m.) 



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About Colin Thomas

Colin Thomas is a Vancouver-based editor, an award-winning playwright, and an established theatre critic. Colin helps writers unlock the full potential of their novels, short stories, screenplays, and children's books.

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