17 October 2010

A Disappearing Number

A Disappearing Number
conceived and directed by Simon McBurney (2007)
performed by Complicite *
Theatre Royal Plymouth
cinema broadcast 14 October 2010

mathematicians Srinivasa Ramanujan and Godfrey Harold Hardy collaborate in 1914 (theme)

* Théâtre de la Complicité
(original name of the experimental company)

A Disappearing Number is a decidedly clever, imaginatively experimental, but problematical and in many ways puzzling play. I was unable to get emotionally involved in what passed for a plot, with separate but intellectually intersecting individuals. I can inherently appreciate the beauty of elegant mathematical proofs, yet that hardly makes for drama to this remote observer. The play kept harping at the significance of infinity — awesome in imagination, less so on stage. Given the origin of the one genius, a fair dollop of Indian mysticism was interjected by the end of the day. It felt gratuitous.