HEDY! The Life & Inventions of Hedy Lamarr
Scranton Fringe Festival
Scranton Cultural Center, Jr. Ballroom
420 N Washington Ave, Scranton, PA
I had the privilege of interviewing, Heather Massie, the astronomical actress, who wrote, produced, and plays Hedy, along with up to thirty-three other characters, including Jimmy Stewart, in her play, HEDY! The Life & Inventions of Hedy Lamarr. If you are not familiar with Hedy Larmarr, she was a glamorous Hollywood actress and inventor during WWII. She established, along with composer, George Antheil, the technology of frequency hopping intended for use in torpedoes during WWII. Additionally, this technology was later to be implemented in today’s inventions of Bluetooth, WiFi, and GPS. However, Hedy’s recognition for her invention took many years to manifest. Sadly, the public saw her simply for her beauty, unaware of, as Heather put it, “a secret genius.”
As a former Science teacher, I take personal interest in Hedy Lamarr’s story. Upon discussing Heather’s inspiration for writing the play, we both agreed that girls need more female role models, who are engineers, astrophysicists, inventors, and the like. When Heather was in third grade, she aspired to be “an astronaut, work with animals, or be an inventor.” Later, Heather began her studies in astrophysics at the University of Virginia, to eventually major in Theatre Arts at the Virginia Tech School of Performing Arts. Heather stated her inspiration to write the play was drawn from “a part of myself that I had put away…that I wanted to focus on … my interest in science.”
Heather said what is fascinating about this play is that it presents itself in an “exciting and engaging way.” She, as Hedy, speaks directly with the audience about her life leading up to her invention of frequency hopping. In this play, you will become engaged in Hedy’s life story through immersing yourself through Hedy’s dialogue with the many fascinating characters in her life. This play as Heather stated includes “funny, interesting, and ironic parts of her life,” as well.
Overall, Heather believes this story “translates across cultures and generations.” She states the play has relatable themes and messages that resonate with people today. And for audiences around the world, Heather states: “regardless of any expectation of what scientists should look like, individuals don’t need to think in terms of appearance or gender, but in terms of ability. So, that all people can feel empowered to contribute to society through their ideas, innovation, and invention.”
Consequently, Heather believes that Hedy’s life story is not only interesting, but inspiring. With her play, Heather aims to “empower women and to inspire audiences to find ways to make the world a better place…to have the courage to do the things they want to do regardless of the world’s expectations.”
Heather has been touring with HEDY! The Life & Inventions of Hedy Lamarr in numerous festivals, universities, and theaters across the United States and the world. She began touring on November 9, 2016, which would have been Hedy’s 102nd birthday. Her play received 12 awards and critical acclaim.
Heather’s future plans involve creating a trilogy of plays that highlight the accomplishments of women in science, including Sally Ride, as her next project.
I am excited to see Heather’s work and what is in store for the future!
For more information, please peruse the information and links below:
WHAT: HEDY! The Life & Inventions of Hedy Lamarr as a part of Scranton Fringe Festival
WHO: Written & Performed by Heather Massie
WHEN: Fri Sept 28 @ 6:00 PM, Sat Sept 29 @ 8:30 PM, & Sun Sept 30 @ 5:00 PM
WHERE: Scranton Cultural Center, Jr Ballroom – 420 N Washington Ave, Scranton, PA
AGE GUIDANCE: 12+
TICKETS: $8-$12 https://www.eventbrite.com/e/hedy-the-life-inventions-of-hedy-lamarr-tickets-48139832535?aff=ebapi and www.scrantonfringe.org/tickets/
FESTIVAL SITE: www.scrantonfringe.org
SHOW SITE: www.HeatherMassie.com/HEDY