Episode 012 – Gioia De Cari of Truth Values




Photo by John Olson

My friend Gioia De Cari created a very successful one-woman show called Truth Values: One Girl’s Romp Through M.I.T.’s Male Math Maze which has had 95 performances in 45 theaters in 17 states with over 17,000 audience members.

In this interview we talk about the development of her show as well as her background as a mathematician at M.I.T.  The show has create a serious discussion about women in STEM fields.  The writing of the show was in part spurred on by a quote from the former president of Harvard, Lawrence Summers who infamously (and publicly) suggested that the reason women weren’t more represented in STEM fields was because of innate gender differences.

[Please note: Gioia wrote me in horror after the interview realizing that she had had a brain fizz and said “Bill Clinton” when she meant “Barack Obama” at the 9:20 mark of the interview.]

If you’ve ever wanted to write and perform your own one person show, certainly Gioia may be held up as a model of success.  Or if you’re interested in the topic of gender inequality in education, you’ll enjoy her point of view!

Topics covered in the interview:

  • Introduction.  Welcome to New York!  (0:00)
  • Hello Gioia De Cari.  The acting impulse.  MIT. (2:52)
  • The beginning of her one-woman show, Truth Values (7:15)
  • Tips from Wynn Handman about writing a one person show (11:43)
  • Gioia trying to fit in at MIT (14:49)
  • How she started booking the show into theatres around US (20:43)
  • How she figured out the business end of touring (24:30)
  • Political writing, can art change people or policy? (31:31)
  • Stephen didn’t realize he was sexually harrassed in the workplace (34:39)
  • Writing again after a hit (39:37)
  • Gioia’s most horrible or bizarre or interesting audition experience (46:15)
  • Go eat at Chirping Chicken at 77th and Amsterdam! (51:44)

As usual my buddy Sal Clemente (of Ultrasonic Rock Orchestra) who wrote the podcast theme song, “Here We Go Again,” plays us out.

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