“Intelligence-Slave” by Kenneth Lin

By: Kenneth Lin
Narrated by: Garret Dillahunt, Joe Spano, Josh Stamberg, Daniel Stewart, Nick Toren, Matthew Wolf
Length: 1 hr and 9 mins
Published June 2015 by L.A. Theatre Works

No matter how hard I try, I don’t think in my lifetime I could ever get through all the productions of super high quality theatrical productions from LATW, but I’m giving it a good try.

This story is one of triumph and sadness. The biggest sadness is that Curt Herzstark is being held captive by the Nazis during WWII in a salt mine (to avoid damage from bombings).  Herzstark is working on perfecting a hand calculator, but knowing what the Nazis are doing he doesn’t want to finish the project.  Could a hand calculator have meant victory for the Germans in the war?  Probably, maybe, but why take that chance.

Herzstark is sent a German Soldier, who, after a head injury, is able to do high function math in his brain.  This will  be the test as to whether Herzstark’s invention will work or not.  The two live in the mine under deplorable conditions but much better than the concentration camp prisoners above ground are enduring.  The soldier soon helps develop the solution to get the calculator to fully function, but at the same time the soldier develops problems of his own.

In a play where the atrocities of the Nazis is not greatly represented yet still touched on, the listener will still get that feeling of doom and gloom yet have those uplifting moments where humanity can shine.

Publisher’s Summary
The story of Curt Herzstark, an Austrian industrialist and concentration camp prisoner who was sent by the Nazis to an underground salt mine during the war. While in captivity he continued his experiments with a device that would eventually become the hand-held calculator.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast recording, starring Garret Dillahunt, Joe Spano, Josh Stamberg, Daniel Stewart, Nick Toren, and Matthew Wolf. Directed by Matt August and recorded before a live audience by L.A. Theatre Works.

Intelligence-Slave is part of L.A. Theatre Works’ Relativity Series featuring science-themed plays. Major funding for the Relativity Series is provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, to enhance public understanding of science and technology in the modern world.

©2015 Kenneth Lin (P)2015 L.A Theatre Works