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Murder and the Cosmos at Theater for the New City

The Fourth State of MatterEva OstrowskaSamantha Glovin as a café waitress and Andrew W. Hsu as Liao Chen in “The Fourth State of Matter”

In “The Fourth State of Matter” by Joseph Vitale, directed by Robert Angelini, a brilliant Chinese astrophysics student studying at an American university has murdered his beloved academic mentor, an eminent cosmologist. Loosely based on shootings at the University of Iowa in 1991, the play explores the genesis of this tragedy, finding parallels in cosmology and its exploration of the universe and its origins.

Played by Andrew W. Hsu, Liao Chen is a stranger adrift in a foreign land, dealing with the effects of his mother’s mental illness and the threat of fierce competition from fellow students for academic honors. These particles making up Chen’s existence culminate in the murder around which the play is set — the cataclysmic Big Bang, so to speak. Read more…