FLEAS ON STEROIDS
January 4, 2009 § Leave a comment
Miriam Rothschild, the distinguished British entomologist, is brought to life by musician, playwright and actor Claudia Stevens in her short solo play, Flea. Dame Miriam despairs over being unable to save the world. At last she solicits advice from a flea, which encourages her to recreate an early experiment.
San Francisco Bay Area composer Allen Shearer provides the music, both pre-recorded and performed live by Claudia. And especially for tonight’s presentation at the Cornelia Street Café, Allen has added a short piece for solo flute, played by chemist and musician Jerry Meinwald. Who, using Rothschild’s brilliant experiments on the control of flea reproduction by the steroidal hormone level in a host-rabbit’s blood as a jumping off point (!), will then tell us why steroids have intrigued chemists and biologists for over 200 years, what they actually are, where they come from, why we can’t live without them, and how they are exploited by such diverse life forms as fireflies, toads, and Asian snakes.