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Jewel Box Theatre stages premiere of “Excavation”

Rob Barron's “Excavation,” winner of the Jewel Box Theatre's 2012 playwriting competition, is being staged through Dec. 9 at Jewel Box Theatre.
BY ELIZABETH HURD Modified: November 21, 2012 at 4:16 pm •  Published: November 23, 2012

The Jewel Box Theatre continues its tradition of introducing new playwrights to the scene with premiere performances. This year's choice is Rob Barron's “Excavation.” Barron is an assistant professor of theater at City College in New York where he teaches acting, directing and playwriting. Linda McDonald directs this world premiere for the Jewel Box.

“Excavation” tells two stories of dinosaur lovers separated by two centuries and an ocean.

Josh Peterson is a recent widower working in security at the Natural History Museum in New York City.

His young son, Kenny, is still grieving over the loss of his mother and immerses himself in the book about the fossil hunter Mary Anning.

The modern setting is fictional, but Mary Anning is a historical figure.

She was born in 1799 and was known as a fossil collector, dealer and paleontologist due to the important finds she made in the Jurassic marine fossil beds at Lyme Regis, in Dorset, where she lived.

She has been largely overlooked in the scientific community due to her lack of formal education, and also because women were not recognized in the scientific community in the early 19th century.

Anning was finally recognized for her contributions by the Royal Society in 2010 as one of the 10 British women who have most influenced the history of science.

She was also noted in her community for the unusual circumstances surrounding a sudden lighting storm during an equestrian show.

A neighbor, Elizabeth Haskings, was holding Anning as a child when lightning struck killing three women, including Haskings.

Anning's survival was miraculous, and interestingly, she blossomed from a sickly toddler to a lively, curious and intelligent girl.

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