A tall, slender, pale, much younger woman, Rachel (Natalie Beisner) approaches timidly, obviously ill at ease.The silence and tension are thicker than Thule fog but once they communicate, it becomes clear that they share a history.At the moment, however, the question is whether Rachel's hypothesis, based on novel biological findings, will receive a hearing before the Board of which Zelda is an influential member.

Guys - don't be put off by all this estrogen-heavy discussion.

What makes this play worth seeing for everyone is the chemistry (or lack thereof), of two women of science, their backgrounds and our glimpse into their personal lives.

The charismatic Wickliffe seems at once softly feminine but also a combative fighter for her own difficult climb to achieve academic equality and fame.

Beisner's expressive face lays bare her emotional range.

THE HOW AND THE WHY by Sarah Treem This riveting psychological drama is so brilliantly written, its author might possess a Master's Degree in any given scientific subject.

Yet, the language is not so high falutin' that you scratch your head, wondering what the hell it's all about.It is an illuminating character study of two women, connected yet estranged.The scene is an office (set by Phil Buono) where Zelda (Mary Wickliffe) sits at her desk, busy with paperwork.At first tentative, then forceful and determined, with a rapid-fire delivery in a multi-faceted portrayal.When her eyes fill with tears, she breaks our hearts as well.Danielle Ozymandias' expert directional touch is evident throughout this fascinating story and the proscenium staging gives us an unobstructed view of the performers' moods, frowns, smiles and everything in between.