Ada Byron was the only legitimate child of the poet Lord Byron, who had five other kids by women other than his wife (including his own half-sister). He abandoned all his children to go fight for Greek independence, and Ada was left in the care of her mother, who raised her in a puritanical fashion so her daughter wouldn’t inherit what was deemed as her father’s insanity. Nevertheless, scandal followed Ada in Victorian England, especially when she lost several thousand pounds in the belief that she had developed a system to game the odds of gambling.
For all this, she maintained a keen interest in math and science. Her development of instructions to operate an analytical device made by her friend Charles Babbage has led many people to name her as the first computer programmer in history. Lauren Gunderson’s play Ada and the Engine opens this week, casting Ada as the central figure in a love triangle with Babbage and Lord Lovelace, the respectable aristocrat whom she would eventually marry. This play premiered in L.A. and the Midwest last year, and now it receives its North Texas premiere courtesy of Stage West.
Ada and the Engine runs Thu thru Feb 9 at Stage West, 821 W Vickery Blvd, FW. Tickets are $20-40. Call 817-784-9378.