by Sarah Burack
Excerpt from Harvard Arts Beat
Storyteller Jay O’Callahan is a lively performer with a penchant for voices—first raspy and quiet, then booming and exuberant—and a face framed by a shock of white hair. His performance last Tuesday at the Sackler Museum, featured a story he crafted to commemorate the 50th anniversary of NASA. Fifty years, in a marriage, is the golden anniversary. O’Callahan used the occasion to write a love story to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Forged in the Stars.
And what a story. I have a thesis due this week, and I stayed for the entire 90 minutes, from the first, hushed countdown to liftoff (T minus 5, 4, 3…) to the final, resounding “Why not!” conclusion. Forged in the Stars blends material O’Callahan gleaned from hours of interviews with NASA scientists, engineers and pilots across the country, historical stories of the organization, and, finally, the invented love story (or not-so-in-love story) of O’Callahan’s protagonists, Jack and Diane. In all of its parts, Forged speaks of vision, solidarity, and the thirst for exploration.
March 7, 2010