Partition - Fantasy About Srinivasa Ramanujan
Catalyst Collaborative at MIT (CC@MIT), a collaboration between the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Underground Railway Theater (URT) continues its series of staged readings with "Partition," a fantasy by Ira Hauptman about self-educated math genius Srinivasa Ramanujan and his compelling relationship with Cambridge University professor G.H. Hardy, who brought Ramanujan out of obscurity in India to England.
Ramanujan, the subject of MIT professor Robert Kanigel's book, "The Man Who Knew Infinity," is also the focus of two new Hollywood flms currently in the works (see http://inhome.rediff.com/movies/2006/mar/31ram.htm)
Two readings of "Partition," directed by Jon Lipsky, will be held: the first on Monday, May 15, at 7:30 p.m. in Room 10-250 at MIT (enter 77 Massachusetts Ave.) and the second on Tuesday, May 16 at 7:30 p.m. at the Cambridge Family YMCA Theatre (820 Massachusetts Ave. Central Square).
The cast features Amar Srivastava, Ken Baltin, Stephen Russell, Jordan Dann, Debra Wise.
Following the May 15 reading at MIT, Hauptman will participate in a panel discussion, led by MIT Professor Robert Kanigel, Director of MIT's Graduate Program in Science Writing and author of the acclaimed biography of Ramanujan, "The Man Who Knew Infinity"; and MIT Assistant Professor of Mathematics Kiran S. Kedlaya. Kanigel will also lead an open discussion with Kedlaya following the May 16 reading at the Cambridge YMCA.
Seating for the readings of 'Partition" is limited; no tickets or reservations are necessary.
For more information on the MIT event, call (617) 253-2341; for more information on the Central Square performance, call (781) 643-6916 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Ramanujan (1887-1920), with the encouragement of G.H. Hardy, pioneered mathematical theories that startled leading mathematicians of their time. Despite some remarkable mathematical achievements, their relationship was torn by clashes between their very different cultures and opposing ideas about intuition and logic. Ramanujan became ill and returned home. His death soon afterwards calls into question the nature of mathematical inquiry and the sacrifices it demands. Can a genius ever have room in his or her life for another genius?
The play's surreal cast of characters includes a Hindu goddess who brings equations to Ramanujan in his sleep, and Pierre de Fermat, the seventeenth century French mathematician who bequeathed the world an unsolvable problem.
"I think that writing about science and math allows artists to pay homage to geniuses," said Hauptman in an interview at the Aurora Theatre Company, which premiered the play in 2003. "I think there's a great affinity between scientists/mathematicians and playwrights. All of them create imaginary worlds held together by a logic of their own devising," he continued.
CC@MIT, a new multi-year collaboration between MIT AND URT, was established to develop new plays about science to provide the public with a better understanding of our increasingly scientific and technological world. CC@MIT's Artistic Directors are Debra Wise, artistic director of URT; Boston-area actor/writer/director Jon Lipsky, and MIT's Associate Provost for the Arts Alan Brody.
MIT and URT (with its partner the Nora Theater Company) are also involved in a collaboration to create a new theatrical arts center in a building owned by MIT at 450 Massachusetts Ave. MIT will construct and own the building and has agreed to provide a 20-year lease at below-market rent to the operating theater companies, who are responsible for the build-out of the theater space.
Founded in 1979, URT seeks to connect high-quality professional theater with communities through original plays and rigorous educational programming.
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