Mathematics and sexism in question during on-stage self narrative

Michael Woodworth

Equinox Staff


Quirky impressions and comical puns filled the room as the audience experienced sidesplitting laughter.

This was the scene of Gioia De Cari’s one-woman show titled “Truth Values: One Girls Romp Through MIT’s Male Math Maze.”

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Although the title is a tongue twister to most, De Cari had no problem performing her self-written play to bouts of laughter and mini bursts of applause from the audience.

The Main Theatre of the Redfern Arts Center was packed to the brim on Thursday, Feb. 2 to witness the excitement for “Truth Values.”

The audience was filled with both KSC students and members of the Keene community, proving this is a show for everyone.

“Truth Values” told the story of De Cari’s experiences through obtaining her Master’s degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Whether it was the quirky impressions of her professors and colleagues at MIT or her comical puns, De Cari never lost the audience’s attention.

“I liked it because I thought it was an interesting journey,” said recent graduate of KSC, Scott Rodenhauser.

Rodenhauser graduated after the fall 2011 semester with a Bachelor’s degree in Acting.

“Truth Values” was awarded a Puffin Foundation grant and premiered at the New York International Fringe Festival in August of 2009.

After the festival, the play won a Fringe NYC Overall Excellence Award.

Critics all around raved about the play as well.

“De Cari inhabits no fewer than 30 roles with gusto,” TimeOut New York said.

“Go see this show!” exclaimed CurtainUp.

Members of the audience recommended the show as well.

“I would definitely recommend it to my friends and family,” said Rodenhauser.

“Truth Values” had its regional premiere in September of 2009 in Cambridge, Mass. Universities and performing arts centers all around the country now seek the play to be performed on their stages for their students and communities.

De Cari does it all too. She is a writer, performer, actress, playwright, and a classical singer. She began her performance career in experimental opera while teaching mathematical logic at Harvard.

After becoming a member of the Actor’s Equity Association, Screen Actors Guild, and the Dramatists Guild of America, she has played leading roles in theater, commercials, and films.

These works included the multi-award winning film “Lower East Side Story” and her first solo play, “The 9th Envelope”.

These plays have been screened at the Museum of Modern Art, Slamdance and many other festivals.

As well as being a successful performance artist, De Cari has released a debut album titled “Quiet Songs” with her husband, John Olson, in 2006.

The two have toured the country performing the album.

De Cari graduated summa cum laude from UC Berkeley and earned a Master of Science degree from MIT.

She has studied acting with Wynn Handman, who helped her extensively with the development of “Truth Values.” She also studied playwriting with Milan Sitt of Carnegie Melon.

Both these names are well known throughout the theatre realm.

“Getting an education at MIT is like getting a drink from a fire hose,” exclaimed De Cari in the play.

During her education at MIT, she was one of the small number of women to pursue the mathematics degree.

She expressed her annoyance in working in a cramped office with “interesting” peers: a Brazilian and a seemingly nuclear war nut who wanted to see an atom bomb go off in person.

All the characters and names were fictionalized though, but the made up characters made the audience chuckle on a regular basis.

Sophomore Krista Sullivan reflected on how men can sometimes treat a woman in the workplace.

She shared her experience being a waitress in a bar over the summer and expressed her dislike in how some men said or did things towards her.

“They would never do those things if I were a man,” Sullivan said.

During “Truth Values,” De Cari talked about the death of her father.

After his death, which was a suicide, she reflected on the work she had been doing for her post-college education and contemplating whether or not it was worth it.

She confessed to one of her advisors shortly after that she wanted to quit once she solved the problem she was working on to obtain her Master’s.

“I can relate to that because I’ve had situations where I have questioned my current major and possible career choice,” confessed Rodenhauser.

“Truth Values” told the story of struggling but eventually succeeding, and the play told the story well.

With the play over and successful, De Cari now looks forward to her next venue in which she will entertain and reach the hearts of her next batch of spectators.


Michael Woodworth can be contacted at

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