The tickets for A Disappearing Number went on sale in Mumbai a few weeks ago, towards the end of July, and we Mumbaiites, as always, didn’t realize how tough it would be to get seats until they had all vanished. Unfortunately, many have had to settle for scores of reviews that might or might not put them in imaginary front row seats.
Words of advice for those looking forward to this show in Hyderabad: Ignore all the hype and go in with an open mind. Simon Mc Burney’s masterpiece is a revelation of how theatre productions should be made, how audiovisuals, sound, sets and lighting should come together to take the audience on a journey spanning 80 odd years.
Inspired by the collaboration of S. Ramanujan, a poor South Indian Brahmin and GH Hardy, a famous mathematician from Cambridge, A Disappearing Number was conceived and brilliantly executed by Simon McBurney. The tale of infinity merges the present of a couple madly in love with each other but find their destinies somehow tied to that Ramanujan and his infinite series.
The play is a wonderful merger of music, math, and modern Indian and British culture. But it isn’t for every layman to understand. There are moments there when you feel like time and space have shoved you into world of advanced mathematics, and 1+2+3+4+5+…… should have just stayed equal to infinity.
So be fair to the play, and try not to concentrate on the math, instead give the visuals, dialogues and the story your all and you will come away with standards for theatre that are significantly higher.
The cast, a mix of Indian and English actors do an excellent job. But the true hero of the entire play is probably that man standing all the way at the back of the auditorium, controlling the set movements, sound and lighting. The entire production is a visual delight, one better than Inception and even Avatar in 3D.
A Disappearing Number stages at Global Peace Auditorium, Hyderabad, August 21, 22, 2010