1-woman play tells story of inventor Hedy Lamarr

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Elizabeth Wood

Heather Massie, a New York City actor and writer, performs her self-written one-woman play "HEDY! The Life and Inventions of Hedy Lamarr," which discusses various aspects of Lamarr's life, in the Doudna Fine Arts Center in The Theatre on Wednesday night. After the play, Massie held a Q and A with the audience to answer any questions about the play or Lamarr's life. When asked about her inspiration behind the play, Massie said that she used to major in astrophysics to become an astronaut before majoring in theatre arts at a later time; though Lamarr, Massie said she was able to combine her love of science and theatre through Hedy Lamarr.

Staff Report

Heather Massie, New York City actor and writer, portrayed the often misunderstood and little-known story of Hedy Lamarr, an Austrian actress who came to the U.S. and invented frequency hopping.

The 90-minute, one-actor play showed the life of Lamarr, taking audience members from her beginnings as a starving performer in Vienna to her success as an actress in America.

Massie said she had to portray about 36 different characters, such as Lamarr, her mother and father, her husbands and other important figures in Lamarr’s life, all by herself.

Massie said Lamarr was a staunch patriot of America after fleeing her own as she evaded the oppression of Adolf Hitler.

Lamarr invented the concept of frequency hopping by analyzing the mechanisms behind player pianos to aid the U.S. Navy during WWII, but unfortunately, it did not utilize the groundbreaking communication method, which saddened Lamarr greatly, Massie said.

Lamarr’s patent for frequency hopping expired, leaving her no compensation for the invention that revolutionized communication. Everything from cellphones to GPS technology uses frequency hopping, Massie said.

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