Underground Railway Theater produces Complicite’s
A Disappearing Number
October 16 – November 16, 2014
CAMBRIDGE, MA – Underground Railway Theater is proud to present A Disappearing Number by Complicite, conceived and originally directed by Simon McBurney, devised by the original company. Elaine Vaan Hogue directs Underground Railway Theater’s production. A Disappearing Number is part of the 10th Anniversary of Catalyst Collaborative@MIT, a science-theatre collaboration between Central Square Theater and MIT. The press performance is Monday, October 20 at 7:30PM.
In 1913 a clerk in rural India, Ramanujan, sends a letter to the renowned Cambridge mathematician, G.H. Hardy, containing an extraordinary series of theorems. What ensues is a legendary, intellectually passionate, seven-year collaboration. Interwoven with the present-day story of Ruth, a British math professor, and her husband, an Indian-American businessman. Drama, comedy, Indian dance and music weave an immersive experience the New York Times called “mesmerizing”, a love-story that combines clashes of culture and , the sensuality of ideas while illuminating the mystery of mathematics. A Disappearing Number received the 2007 Olivier, Evening Standard, and Critic’s Circle Theatre Awards for Best New Play. A Disappearing Number is partly inspired by G. H. Hardy’s book A Mathematician’s Apology.
Tickets for A Disappearing Number start at $15 and are currently on sale at CentralSquareTheater.org or by calling 866.811.4111.
“I have long been fascinated by the story of Ramanjuan and Hardy, having discovered it about 10 year ago through the wonderful biography, The Man Who Knew Infinity by Robert Kanigal, then a science writer at MIT. When I saw Complicite’s A Disappearing Number at Lincoln Center, I was rocked to the core by its epic vision: both expansive and deeply personal. It was surprisingly funny and achingly beautiful. The world looked different to me,” comments Debra Wise, Artistic Director of Underground Railway Theater. “In A Disappearing Number, characters fall deeply in love with people, or ideas, that they do not understand – but in which they recognize great beauty that invites the risky business of seeking greater knowledge.”
Simon McBurney & Complicite
In Paris in the early 1980s Simon McBurney met the met the co-founders of what would become Complicite; Annabel Arden (already a friend and acquaintance), Marcello Magni and Fiona Gordon. Complicite began in Paris where to test out the chemistry of the group, McBurney and Gordon sat on a stage in lawn chairs, experimenting with McBurney’s premise that “that if you just sit on a stage and do nothing, something will happen.” The players had the audience rolling with laughter in their hour and a half long performance. The group moved to England in 1983 and, for about 5 years, remained a tenuous traveling troupe with a common bond, although members felt they each had their own distinctive vision. This anarchic tension continued even after the Almeida Theater offered the troupe a space in 1989. With its radical interpretation of Friedrich Durrenmatt’s The Visit, Complicite began to come together with a singular vision. While The Visit had usually been performed naturalistically, the troupe came up with an altogether spectacular physicality with the lead character – an heiress seeking revenge – appearing as a reptile on crutches. The troupe worked with the text relentlessly, reading it in English and in the original German, uncovering new possibilities for physicality and visual imagery. The Visit was so popular during its 15-week stint at the Almeida that it was revived in 1991 at the National, cementing the impact of Complicite, and of McBurney’s unique reshaping of the look and feel of theater.
Recent major productions include The Master and Margarita, (2011/12) A Dog’s Heart (2010) with De Nederlandse Opera and English National Opera, Endgame (2009), Shun-kin (2008), A Disappearing Number (2007), Measure for Measure (2004), The Elephant Vanishes (2003, 2004) (performed in Japanese, adapted from the work of the writer Haruki Murakami), The Noise of Time (2000) (about the Russian composer Dimitri Shostakovich, title from the 1925 memoir and collected essays by the poet Osip Mandelstam, published in English in 1993); Mnemonic (1999); and The Street of Crocodiles (1992) (inspired by the life and works of Bruno Schulz).
Awards & Recognition
A Disappearing Number has won many awards, including the Laurence Olivier Award in 2008 for Best New Play. It was produced at the Lincoln Center Festival in New York City in 2010 and toured to Mumbai and Hyderabad. In 2010 it was broadcast to over 300 cinema screens worldwide as part of NT Live.
About Elaine Vaan Hogue
Elaine Vaan Hogue (Director) is thrilled to be directing at Underground Railway Theater this season. This past spring she co-curated the inaugural Next Rep Festival of new work at New Repertory Theatre. Regional directing credits include Imagining Madoff(Elliot Norton nominee for Outstanding Production); The Kite Runner (New Rep); Metamorphosis (Boston Center for American Performance); The Penelopiad, Execution of Justice, and Lizzie Stranton (Wimberly Theatre BCA); Walking the Volcano (BCAP/BPT); Crave (The Nora Theatre Company); Thin Air: Tales from a Revolution (Kansas City); Infinity’s House (Majestic Theatre); Fen (New Theatre); The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek, The Other Shore, Angels in America, Three Sisters, Pains of Youth, Polaroid Stories, Marisol and many others (BU). As an actor she has most recently performed in The Road to Mecca (BCAP); Creation: Mythic Weavings (Women on Top & Magdalena USA); When Jennie Goes Marching (Olney Theatre Center & Spontaneous Celebrations). She is a member of the Magdalena Project, an international network of women in contemporary theatre, and is a participant in an international cyber performance group, collaborating in All the Better To See You With (Odin Teatret); MagFest KISS(Amsterdam); and trans-hack-feminist UpStage Jam (Eclectic Tech Carnival). Ms. Vaan Hogue serves as Program Head of Theater Arts at Boston University. In Spring 2015, she will direct The Amish Project at New Rep. Originally from Los Angeles, she resides in Central Massachusetts.
About the Cast of A Disappearing Number
Christine Hamel (Ruth) has previously been seen as Alex in On the Verge (New Repertory Theatre); Penelope in The Penelopiad (Boston University Theatre); Emma Darwin in Trumpery (Olney Theatre Center); Rachel in Season’s Greetings, Mrs. Webb in Our Town (Wellesley Summer Theatre); and Laura in The Glass Menagerie (Boston Center for American Performance). Her recent dialect/voice coaching work includes Einstein’s Dreams (Underground Railway Theater); Equally Divided, Half ‘n’ Half ‘n’ Half, Beat Generation, Memory House (Merrimack Repertory Theatre); Tongue of a Bird, Camelot, Elephant Man, Amadeus (New Repertory Theatre); and Distant Music (Stoneham Theatre). Christine is an assistant professor of voice & speech and acting at the Boston University School of Theatre. She is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association (AEA), the Michael Chekhov Association and the Voice and Speech Trainers’ Association.
Amar Srivastava (Al) is originally from Burlington MA, and now lives in NYC. A Disappearing Number is his first appearance in Boston in seven years. NYC: Metropolitan Playhouse’s “Alphabet City X”, Airmid Theatre Companys’ A Little Betrayal Among Friends, Take Wing and Soar Productions’ Antony & Cleopatra, Pulse Ensemble Theatre’s Chaos Theory, Moose Hall Theatre Company’s Romeo & Juliet, Judith Shakespeare Company’s Coriolanus. Regional: Philadelphia, PA – InterAct Theatre’s Ritu Comes Home. Worcester, MA – ThisWay Productions’ Speaking In Tongues. Boston: TheatreZone’s A View From The Bridge, The A&P Plus D Theatre’s The Educated, The Theatre Cooperative’s Hamlet, Will Act For Food’s Deathwatch, Zeitgeist’s Tooth & Claw, American Repertory Theatre’s Olly’s Prison directed by Robert Woodruff, Boston Theatre Works’ Homebody/Kabul, and Sun-Runner Classics’ As You Like It.
Jacob Ayathal (Ramanujan) is a proud StageSource member and is happy to make his Underground Railway Theater debut. Previous credits include V.P. in Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity (Company One); Great Goblin in The Hobbit (Wheelock Family Theater); and La Calavera in Bocón! (Apollinaire Theater Co).
Paul Melendy (Hardy) is overjoyed to be making his Central Square Theater debut. Recent Boston credits include M (Huntington Theatre Company); Prince Charming in Snow White and the 7 Bottoms and George Bailey in It’s a Horrible Life (Gold Dust Orphans). His performance in It’s a Horrible Life earned him a 2014 Elliot Norton Award nomination for Outstanding Musical Performance. Other area credits include The Taming of the Shrew, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, As You Like It (Commonwealth Shakespeare Company); Macbeth, Cyrano (New Repertory Theatre); and other productions with Actors’ Shakespeare Project, Centastage, and Wheelock Family Theater, to name a few. Regional theater credits include collaborations with Wellfleet Harbor Actors’ Theater, New Century Theater, Public Theatre (of Maine), and The Barnstormers’ Theatre (of New Hampshire). Film credits: The Pink Panther Deux (with Steve Martin), and The Makeover (with Julia Stiles).
Sanaa Kazi (Surita/ensemble) has previously been seen as Ira in the short film The Theft by Guari Adelkar, which was a 2014 official selection at the Boston International Film Festival and the Roxbury International Film Festival. She is a member of the Stage Ensemble Theatre Unit (SETU), with which she has performed in Shah Jahan and The Mahabharata. Sanaa has also performed in the Hindi language with the cultural group New England Hindi Manch.
Lorne Batman (Barbara/ensemble) is thrilled to be making her Underground Railway Theatre debut. Recent credits include Helena in A Midsummer NIght’s Dream and Miss Havisham in Great Expectations (New Rep’s CRC), Sarah/Actor 5 in We Are Proud to Present a Presentation… (Company One/ArtsEmerson), and Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing (Arts After Hours). Lorne studied at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and holds a BFA in Acting from Boston University.
Bari Robinson (David/ensemble) Recent credits include Waiting for Gilgamesh (world premiere, FPTC), Clybourne Park (The Good Theater), By and By (world premiere, Shotgun Players, Berkeley, CA), Topdog/Underdog (Dramatic Repertory Company), and a reading of Danny Bryck’s The River and The Sea (New Repertory Theatre). Training: The Public Theater Shakespeare Lab, Columbia University (MFA). Film: The Finest Hours (Disney Studios), Mail.Man (Trailside Studios).
Harsh J. Gagoomal (Aninda) has previously worked as a touring Actor/Educator with Speak About It, the Assistant to the Director for Becoming Cuba (Huntington Theatre Company); and the Director for Day One (Centastage, BTM XVI). He has also appeared as an Actor/Director with Emerson Stage, Fort Point Theater Channel, and Shotz Boston. Harsh’s main focus is developing new work in relation to theatre for social change, which he is currently pursuing as a creator and facilitator of the Boston Annum Project.
The creative team for A Disappearing Number includes Choreographer Aparna Sindhoor, Scenic Designer Jon Savage, Costume Designer Leslie Held, Lighting Designer Tyler Lambert-Perkins, Sound Designer and Composer David Reiffel, Musical Director Brian Fairley, Tabla Player Ryan Meryer, Projections Designer Seaghan McKay, Puppet Builder Matthew Woellert, and Properties Master Joe Stallone. Dominique D. Burford is the production Stage Manager. Lily Linke is the assistant director.
A Disappearing Number plays at Central Square Theater, 450 Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge, Thursday, October 16 through Sunday, November 17, 2014. Performances are Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30PM, Fridays at 8PM, Saturdays at 3PM and 8PM, and Sundays at 2PM. Tickets may be purchased by calling (866) 811-4111, at the Central Square Theater box office, or online at CentralSquareTheater.org. For box office hours, group discounts, and more information call (617) 576-9278 x210.
Central Square Theater (CST) opened in 2008 through a groundbreaking partnership between The Nora Theatre Company (The Nora) and Underground Railway Theater (URT). This collaboration has been called a model for the arts community (The Boston Foundation, Culture is our Commonwealth, and The National Collaboration Prize), as it has paired two like-minded performing arts organizations in a strategic alliance with the City of Cambridge and MIT, resulting in the development of a state-of-the-art performing arts center in the heart of Central Square. CST has a mission to support its two theaters-in-residence while maintaining a shared vision of artists and audiences creating theater vital to their communities. The Nora and URT have a combined track record of over 50 years producing award-winning theater. Located in Central Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and steeped in its multiracial, intergenerational, ethnically and economically diverse neighborhoods, the CST theater experience exudes a democratic energy where classes, races and age groups come together to be inspired, entertained and energized.
Central Square Theater is accessible to persons with special needs and to those requiring wheelchair seating.
For further information please call 617.576.9278 or visit CentralSquareTheater.org.