Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Disappearing Number, National Theatre Live, Presented by Third Rail in Porrtland Oregon (Grade A)

Conceived and Directed by Simon McBurney
Devised by The Cast
The Cast:
G H Hardy    .....    David Annen
Al Cooper   .....    Firdous Bamji
Aninda Rao  .....   Paul Bhattacharjee
Tabla Player  .....  Hiren Chate
Mother/University Cleaner/Dancer ..... Divya Kasturi
Surita Bhogaita / Barbara Jones ..... Saskia Reeves
Ruth Minnen  .....  Saskia Reeves
Srinivasa Ramanuhan / Dancer .....  Shane Shambhu

sez says: these NTL productions are first rate. Everything about every one we have seen has been brilliant.  This is a story about numbers--and mathematics--and how in both math and in art we are striving for beauty. Math is about patterns and has a world and a reality of it own.  Some people are born with access to mathematical reality (ie Srinivasa Ramanujan and maybe G H Hardy) --they see what most of us can't--that is the beauty and pattens that numbers possess and that numbers can provide.  Numbers/mathematics also might well be the path to finding the physical laws of the universe, demonstrating the magnificence of all creation and ultimately solving the mystery of life and the mystery of existence itself. (ie: like String Theory--and it multitude of realities) 
Meanwhile this play has parallel and overlapping stories of love and exile and racism and death, class privilege and the ravages of war and it takes up the gifts and difficulties that accompany cultural diversity. And it wonders about death and what math can tell us: Is there really such a thing as infinity? If all things are connected --past to future with no end ever -- then can there be such a thing as an end at the point of death?  And as we the audience engage in imagining the play is real -- which is required in order to create the possibility of understanding what it is trying to convey, we are also reminded that, that is what mathematical imagining is also doing--trying to convey meaning and understanding.

Imagination is the underpinning and a requirement to understand both the complex elements of the play and to conjure up the relational patterns of numbers. What fun to encounter so much content and so much talent in one place.  It even ends quotng one of my favorite writers; John Berger. Grade A

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