Margot Day as Enrico Fermi

Lauren Snyder , Sentry Staff Reporter

When Margot Day started Theater IV, she did not have any idea of who she wanted to be for her One Person Show. While some classmates had already decided what they wanted to do since their sophomore year, Day only had an idea of a story in her head. She wanted to tell the tale of a person who slowly turned into someone who they hated. She considered doing Kenai from the animated movie Brother Bear, reflecting the story of a hunter turning into the hunted. In the end, Day vetoed the idea, unsure of her ability to turn into a bear during the performance. She made her decision based on a book on scientists given to her by her grandfather. Day’s final decision was to portray nuclear physicist Enrico Fermi, one of the lead scientists who worked on the Manhattan Project.

“I’ve always been interested in the Manhattan Project,” said Day. She did research on multiple scientists and Fermi stood out the most to her. His story of going from developing the atomic bomb to joining a committee which advocated against using atomic weapons appealed to her.

Day also found that she identified with Fermi’s ambition and the risky decisions that he had to make. Fermi wanted to try something where he thought he knew the end result. However, his assumptions proved to be false, and his work with the Manhattan Project had far more consequences than he could have imagined.

“I’ve never had a situation that has ever ended up that badly,” said Day, “but I have jumped into some things two feet first and hoped that they turned out for the best.”

During the writing process of the One Person Show, Day discovered that characterizing a real person was different from characterizing a person from a work of fiction. There was no movie which she could watch or a show which she could marathon. Day had to dig deeper and work through nonfiction works.

“It was difficult to research him as a character. I had to go through physics textbooks and understand fission,” said Day.

Despite the challenges, all of the heavy reading paid off in the end with a performance which captured the story she wanted to tell.