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Truth Values: One Girl's Romp Through M.I.T.'s Male Math Maze

"[M.I.T. Biologist Nancy] Hopkins says she did not enjoy the tumult surrounding the Summers controversy, 'but if it had the effect of bringing this issue forward and inspiring this young woman to write this fabulous play... I'd say it was worth it, because this is an important play.'"
– The Boston Globe
Photo by John Olson

"Snappy," "sincere," and "entertaining" (Boston Herald), Truth Values: One Girl's Romp Through M.I.T.'s Male Math Maze is a true-life tale that offers a humorous, scathing, insightful, and ultimately uplifting look at the challenges of being a professional woman in a male-dominated field. Created in response to former Harvard President Lawrence Summers' now infamous suggestion that women are less represented in the sciences than men because of innate gender differences, the play features writer/performer and "recovering mathematician" Gioia De Cari charmingly bringing to life more than 30 characters, creating "refreshing delights of humor, even compassion" with wit and gusto (EDGE Boston), "each rendered on an empty stage that hints at the countless stories similar to hers but untold" (TimeOut New York).

Truth Values has been embraced by communities throughout the United States as a conversation catalyst about gender equity and diversity issues, particularly the continuing underrepresentation of women in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math). An impressive collection of academic luminaries has been attracted to participate in talk-backs held thus far, including Michael Sipser, Department Chair, Mathematics, M.I.T.; Nancy Hopkins, Professor of Biology, M.I.T.; Melissa Franklin, Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics, Harvard; Margaret Geller, Senior Scientist, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory; Abigail Stewart, Professor of Psychology and Women's Studies, University of Michigan Ann Arbor, and Virginia Valian, Professor of Psychology, Hunter College, and author of Why So Slow? The Advancement of Women.

Truth Values premiered in August 2009 at the New York International Fringe Festival, winning a FringeNYC Overall Excellence Award for Best Solo Show. Development of the play included extensive work both in the studio of the celebrated solo show director and acting coach Wynn Handman, and in Matt Hoverman's Create Your Own Solo Show Workshop. The show was then selected for workshop presentations in NYC at the Six Figures Theatre Company's Artists of Tomorrow Festival and the Emerging Artists One Woman Standing Festival, which led to the award of a Puffin Foundation Grant. Subsequently, Gioia won a spot in the Emerging Artist Residency Program of The Field, where she had the opportunity to culminate direction and development of the show for its premiere at FringeNYC with longtime collaborator director Miriam Eusebio of Lincoln Center Directors Lab.

Truth Values has continued to tour to enthusiastic and sold out crowds at more than 40 theaters, universities and performing arts centers throughout the United States, including the La Jolla Playhouse Potiker Theatre; The Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts; The Barclay; Theatre 80 and The Lafayette Street Theatre in NYC; San Francisco's Zeum Theatre; Central Square Theatre in Cambridge, MA; and many others.

This solo show was developed in Matt Hoverman's solo show workshop, CreateYourOwnSoloShow.com

Photo by John Olson

Gioia De Cari


Photo by tanziephoto.com

The passionately eclectic Gioia De Cari is an actress, playwright, classical singer and "recovering mathematician." She began her performance career in experimental opera while a teaching fellow in mathematical logic at Harvard. Since then, she has played numerous leading acting roles in theater, commercials and films, including the multi-award-winning film Lower East Side Stories, which screened at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, Slamdance, and many festivals in the United States and internationally.

Gioia's first solo play, The 9th Envelope, which she wrote and performed, received a rave in OOBR: "De Cari commanded the stage with energy, poise and range." Her second solo, Truth Values: One Girl's Romp Through MIT's Male Math Maze, an autobiographical story of her past life as a mathematician, has become a runaway national hit.  After receiving a Puffin Foundation grant, Truth Values premiered in the New York International Fringe Festival in August 2009, winning a FringeNYC Overall Excellence Award for Best Solo Show and enthusiastic reviews: "[FOUR STARS] . . . De Cari . . . inhabits no fewer than 30 roles with gusto" (TimeOut New York); "Funny and insightful . . . replete with hilarious characters . . . The story is riveting . . . go see this show!" (CurtainUp). The play received its regional premiere in September 2009, on the mainstage of the Central Square Theater in Cambridge, MA, where it sold-out an extended run and was nominated for an IRNE (Independent Reviewers of New England) award. Truth Values continues to be in demand for touring engagements at universities and performing arts centers throughout the United States.

Gioia has studied acting with legendary teacher Wynn Handman, and playwriting with the late Milan Stitt of Carnegie Mellon. After graduating summa cum laude from UC Berkeley, she earned a master of science degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. An accomplished singer as well, Gioia released her debut album, Quiet Songs, with her husband, classical guitarist John Olson, in 2006. They have toured throughout the United States. Gioia is a proud member of Actors' Equity Association, SAG-AFTRA and The Dramatists Guild of America.

See clips of her film and commercial roles

Listen to samples of Quiet Songs

For further information about Gioia's music, visit olsondecariduo.com

Photo by tanziephoto.com

Unexpected Theatre

The mission of Unexpected Theatre is to illuminate the lives and amplify the voices of women in fresh and unexpected ways, to offer a forum for women to share their stories and explore their collective history.

Unexpected Theatre is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions in behalf of Unexpected Theatre may be made payable to Fractured Atlas and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

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Unexpected Theatre is based in New York City.