A drawing of Shelley and Lovelace doing a "cheers" with a bottle and a cup of what seems to be alcohol. In front of them is a tombstone that reads "R.I.P"

Shelley and Lovelace Never Met

Created by Becky McKercher and Sarah Thuswaldner | Produced by Dangerous Dames Theatre | Origin: Ottawa, Canada
12 + fees

Show Details

Mary Shelley invented science fiction. Ada Lovelace invented computer science. They never met. Isn’t that odd?

Plagued by debts, Victorian society, and Lord Byron, they lived parallel lives that never quite touched. In a silent churchyard they share secrets, scandals, and a sneaking horror that their legacies might not outlive them.

Content Notes

There are no scenes of a sexual nature, but affairs and incest are referenced.

Violence: there is a short sword fight.

Mental health: there are two references to suicide and multiple references to nonspecific “insanity”.

Extended Content note available here.

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  • Friday, June 16th8:00pm
  • Saturday, June 17th2:30pm
  • Tuesday, June 20th7:00pm
  • Thursday, June 22nd10:00pm
  • Saturday, June 24th2:30pm
  • Sunday, June 25th6:00pm
  • Sunday, June 25th9:00pm
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5 responses to “Shelley and Lovelace Never Met

  1. I enjoyed seeing the opening night and world premiere of “Shelley and Lovelace Never Met,” co-written by its stars. What delighted me (as a literary geek and occasional programmer) was how far they went into researching the characters: Mary Shelley — author of “Frankenstein” and, therefore, progenitor of science fiction — and Ada, Countess Lovelace — who published the first algorithm for Babbage’s Analytical Engine and therefore progenitor of computer programming (she for whom the Ada programming language is named). As in: Here’s the story you may have heard… and now, here’s what’s behind that. Or may have been behind it.

    The connection between the two is George, Lord Byron, poet and degenerate about town. (He _probably_ did not try to insert himself in the bear he brought to Oxford, but when you have said that, you have said pretty much everything.) Ada Lovelace was his daughter; she scarcely knew him. Mary Shelley knew Byron principally through her husband, poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, and the three of them (plus Byron’s physician) participated in a friendly competition to write a ghost story. Which produced Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus” and nothing else worth discussing.

    The play isn’t a simple “What if Byron’s daughter and contemporary had met?” (which idea is okay… if obvious, at least in retrospect). There’s more going on here, and it must have been an absolute tightrope to pull off.

    The playwrights are much more deft at exposition than I have been above. You may be barely awake right now after enduring my two paragraphs setting things up. When you see the play, you’ll be alert and keenly interested in both what “Shelley and Lovelace” has to say and how they say it. At one point, the dramatic balance may strike you as a little off, but that’s because they’re saving themselves up for… something I won’t spoil.

    Inexperienced writers include every bit of their research. This play has context to keep you from getting lost, but some references aren’t explained (but work even if you don’t know the reference). I enjoy “The Wire” precisely because the writers aren’t going to spoon-feed you; it was nice to feel the presumption of intelligence while watching “Shelley and Lovelace.”

    Since I know both of the Dangerous Dames who wrote and are performing the play to be diverting companions separately, you won’t be surprised to hear that watching them act together is a real treat for me.

    Once word of mouth spreads about “Shelley and Lovelace,” expect to have plenty of companions when you go see it.

  2. This is a mind-bending story – the inventor of the modern novel and the inventor of the modern computer having passed each other, two gal(leon)s in the night.

    Presented with wit and humour alongside the genuinely moving tragedies of these incredible womens’ lives, the Dangerous Dames have brought us another hour of delightful theatre that will make you wonder about what could have been created had these two brains had the opportunity to shine together.

    Already have my tickets to see this one again – get yours soon before they sell out (again!).

  3. If you only see one show at Fringe, I hope you’re lucky enough to have it be this one. The Dangerous Dames, the creatives behind this piece, knocked it out of this park. The idea is creative, the writing is wonderful, and the show is good enough to stay with you, days after you’ve seen it. Two actresses alone on stage (plus a gravestone) make a heck of an impression.

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