Carl Djerassi's new play takes a bold stand on the matter of priority in the invention of calculus. Did Isaac Newton invent it first, with his private notes toward a "method of fluxions" dated 1769, or was it Gottfried Leibniz, the self-taught mathematician who published a calculus in 1677, with notations still in use today? I'm sure you're breathless with anticipation. Conventional wisdom credits Newton, but hang on: A committee of London's Royal Society convened in 1712 to examine the facts, and yes, those bewigged wise heads did issue a commercium declaring Newton the winner, but it seems most of them were no less susceptible to pettiness and social politics than scientists, artists, and writers are today. In a massively convolved, 80-minute play-within-a-play, Djerassi gives us the machinations of the Royal Society and emerges with Leibniz as winner and new champeen, taking care to trash the reputations of several Newton partisans or "whores." The show, as you'd imagine, is heavy pedaling. Djerassi is a Stanford chemist known for research that led, eventually, to the birth-control pill. Now he writes plays that tend to arrive dead on the slab, in spite of the efforts of our best local actors (in this case Robert Sicular, Bob Ernst, and Cynthia Bassham, among others) to revive them.