Einstein once said, "Gravitation cannot be held responsible for people falling in love." But perhaps computer science and microbiology can be. At least according to Itamar Moses, whose latest world premiere explores the probability of two graduate students heuristically finding love. Elliot (Karl Miller) and Molly (Mandy Siegfried) bump into each other in the computer lab, only to discover that their departments are but a floor apart and their temperaments even closer. Elliot offers his algorithmic skills to help Molly with her experiments on protein interactions, and before long a mathematical solution to a biological problem creates a whole lot of chemistry. Of course the bug in the software is that Elliot has coincidentally just broken up with fellow CS grad student Lauren (Brooke Bloom), while Molly hasn't quite ended things with biology professor Don (Johnathan McClain). Hurt feelings of exes aside, cross-pollination may be the key to Elliot and Molly finally finding love until their logical sides begin to iteratively analyze what exactly they have together. While the plot initially seems destined for Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus territory, it quickly and surprisingly veers away, back and away once more as Moses plays to and subverts such stereotypes. In doing so, he strikes a fine balance between geeking out with the science and remaining dramatically compelling. Director Pam MacKinnon expertly maintains that balance by ensuring the spot-on comic timing of the actors, who navigate uncomfortable emotional exchanges in refreshingly hilarious ways. Even the costume and set changes are beautifully orchestrated, the latter courtesy of Christopher Barreca's metallic matrix, whose magically mechanized movements bring to mind 2001: A Space Odyssey. South Coast Repertory, 655 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa; Tues.-Sun., 7:45 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 2 p.m.; some variations, call for schedule; thru May 8. (714) 708-5555, scr.org.
Fri., April 22, 7:45 p.m.; Saturdays, Sundays, 2 & 7:45 p.m.; Tuesdays-Fridays, 7:45 p.m. Starts: April 22. Continues through May 8, 2011