Washington, DC--For the first time in more than 40 years, the Annual Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC), sponsored by the American Society for Microbiology and scheduled to be held here in fall 2004, will be co-sponsored by award-winning playright Tony Kushner In Conjunction with the Angels in America Cast.
"I was just playing around with some Scrabble squares to jolt my creativity, and I noticed that ICAAC stands for more than one thing," marveled Mr. Kushner. "I said--whaddya know! Here's a chance to revamp the entire conference and make it much more exciting!"
"There are so many reasons I want to co-sponser this event," Mr. Kushner added. "First of all, have you ever attended a scientific slide presentation? There's no drama, there's no singing, and there's no dancing. There's just a lot of snoring and endless PowerPoint presentations."
Scientists who attend ICAAC have the opportunity to learn about the latest vaccines and antibiotics and hear about the latest research on infectious diseases. They are also able to cure long-standing insomnia that is recalcitrant to all other treatment.
"We're going to add a few more options to ICAAC," explained Meryl Streep, who starred in the television version of Kushner's Angels in America. "I mean, these guys are doing great work in their goal of eradicating infections worldwide. So many people would be dead without them. But they need to learn how to enunciate, to pause for dramatic effect, to modulate their voices, and to stop using the same old scientific jargon. They need a dramatic presence, and we can give them that."
Ms. Streep and co-stars Mary Louise Parker and Emma Thompson will offer mini-"roundtable" discussions on how to enter and exit a refrigerator, have sex while levitating, and distinguish between the Bronx and Brooklyn. They believe that this and other information will enable scientists to create crisper and more attention-grabbing abstracts, posters, ande slide kits.
In addition to the normal opportunities for CME credit, this year's participants will also be able to audition for bit parts in Mr. Kushner's next play, obtain honorary membership in the actors' union, and receive half-price tickets to one Broadway play of their choice.
"I see a great future in this," concluded Mr. Kushner. "It's kind of like Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, but at scientific meetings, not just in apartments."
"And who knows, maybe ICAAC will be reviewed in The New Yorker, said Ms. Streep. "I can just see the full-page ad in The New York Times for the 45th ICAAC, which is to be held in New Orleans. Maybe we could tie that in with a Southern motif--Tennesse Williams and Faulkner and Flannery O'Connor and that kind of thing The possibilities are endless!"