Can a Play About Vaccines Be a Laughing Matter?

Can a Play About Vaccines Be a Laughing Matter?

Indeed, “Eureka Day,” which is already scheduled for productions in Philadelphia, Washington and Sonoma County, Calif., gives the anti-vaccine parents their humanity, though it does not buy their arguments. Mr. Spector said it makes him uncomfortable even discussing the play in terms of the “vaccination debate.”

“I don’t feel like it’s a debate,” he said. “From my point of view, the science is settled.”

Nonetheless, Josh Costello, the artistic director of Aurora Theater Company in Berkeley, which commissioned the play and staged its world premiere last year, said that anti-vaccine audience members who saw it seemed comfortable with their portrayal.

“We spent a lot of time talking about how we wanted the play to accurately represent people’s points of view without validating a point of view with which we disagree,” Mr. Costello said. “That’s a really fine line to walk.”

Another pleasant surprise, Mr. Costello said, were the wails of laughter that came from the audience during the group chat scene.

“I’ve never seen anything like it, the audience was roaring with laughter for like seven straight minutes,” he said. “We had to redo some of the cues to make it less funny so the audience could hear the dialogue and the key lines.”

Mr. Spector said that, after discovering at the New College of Florida that he was a terrible actor, he set out to become a director. While he had always written, he said, “I didn’t realize that writing plays was still a thing people really did in the world.” But as he moved from project to project, “what was appealing to me,” he added, “was being able to be intimate with this writing I was really excited about.”

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