Modern Australian Magazine



Life, death, gravity, sex and string theory in The Mathematics of Longing

  • Written by Jacqui Somerville, Senior Lecturer in Acting, Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University

Review: The Mathematics of Longing, La Boite, Brisbane

We face a skeletal, triangular pyramid with a platform at the summit; the three vertices are three sets of steps leading up to it, hinting at the history, wonder and timelessness of mathematics before any of the performers appear.

They arrive. At first there is a cacophony as they all speak into microphones at once (evoking, perhaps, the big bang). Then, one-by-one, they deliver Newton’s three laws of motion, before physically representing or enacting them.

It is from this basic premise that The Mathematics of Longing, written by playwright Suzie Miller, follows. In a series of vignettes, the performers first read out a physical or mathematical idea before repackaging it into either a situation conveying a human relationship or a more physical piece. Scenes delve into string theory, the theory of everything, gravity, and complex numbers.

Particularly effective are the scenes addressing string theory, which argues that the universe is fundamentally composed of tiny vibrating strings. In one, a couple get ready to attend their dead baby daughter’s funeral, In another, they are about to go to the same child’s christening. The script hardly changes, with nice work from performers Todd MacDonald and Ngoc Phan giving a very different energy and feel to the two scenes.

Life, death, gravity, sex and string theory in The Mathematics of Longing Gavin Webber and Kate Harman in The Mathematics of Longing. Art Work Agency

There are some stunning moments from Kate Harman and Gavin Webber as lovers who meet, fall in love and eventually part, each element of the relationship sharing a specific physicality from the weightlessness of the beginning of a love affair to the man’s displacement at the end.

And there’s a great string theory sex scene, with four actors playing one couple, showing how successful and unsuccessful the same encounter can be.

There are moments of magic. Todd MacDonald explains how we all fall in love with the blue sky and ocean, when in reality it’s the only wavelength of light that is reflected from these surfaces we are able to perceive.

In a piece towards the end, Merlynn Tong explains that the molecules of which we are all made, upon our demise, will be freed to join other entities, elements and the future. And so, in a very metaphysical way, we all really do get to live forever.

However it is hard to remain emotionally engaged as the vignettes break up any momentum. A scene will develop to the point when it really starts to take hold, but then it will be the turn of the next theorem and its associated scenes.

At the post-show discussion, the playwright Suzie Miller posited that the show was about grief, from the grief of actual death, to the death of a relationship, and even the death of innocence.

Still, despite my reservations, the production evoked delight; it is a visual feast with thought-provoking images. This new collaboration between La Boite, The Farm and The Uncertainty Principle delivers a work that poses fascinating questions linking science and humanity in a powerful and engaging way.

The Mathematics of Longing will be staged at La Boite until June 23.

Authors: Jacqui Somerville, Senior Lecturer in Acting, Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University

Read more http://theconversation.com/life-death-gravity-sex-and-string-theory-in-the-mathematics-of-longing-98147

Australia Today

Keep Your Business Safe With These Cyber Security Tips

News Company

When you own a business, you want to ensure that everything runs smoothly. This includes not only the normal everyday operations, in general, but also keeping everything safe and secure. As everything is online now due to the digital world in which we currently live, it’s more important than eve...

Honest brokers. Why mortgage broker commissions aren't the problem

Mark Humphery-Jenner, Associate Professor of Finance, UNSW

Most mortgage brokers provide good service.ShutterstockThe Hayne Royal Commission began and ended with strident criticism of the mortgage broking industry. It recommended brokers be required to act in the “best interests” of intending borrowers, and that intending borrowers, rather than ...

As Australia's soft power in the Pacific fades, China's voice gets louder

Helen Vatsikopoulos, Lecturer in Journalism, University of Technology Sydney

China is broadcasting to more than 1 billion people in several different languages, while Australia sits on its soft power reviews.Screenshot/YouTubeThis week, Department of Communications and Arts secretary Mike Mrdak told a Senate hearing our Pacific neighbours will soon experience “the full...

how does a vasectomy work and can it be reversed?

James Dunn, Associate Lecturer in Anatomy and Cell Biology, Western Sydney University

Men who don't want any more kids will often choose to have a vasectomy.From shutterstock.comSome men may shudder at the thought of “the snip”. But vasectomies are a safe and effective form of contraception for men who have completed their family, or don’t wish to have children.Medi...

Super-recognisers accurately pick out a face in a crowd – but can this skill be taught?

Alice Towler, Post-doctoral Research Fellow, UNSW

One of these people is on a wanted list for theft. A super-recogniser may pick them at a glance. from www.shutterstock.comYenny is 26 years old, lives in Melbourne, and has a very specific talent. One day, she was driving her car when she recognised a man who had been several years below her at high...

Holidays & Travel

Important Considerations When Choosing Broome Accommodation

Broome is a fantastic place for visitors of all ages. Whether you want to lounge on the golden sands of Cable beach or take the kids to learn something new...

A tour guide to Melbourne

Welcome to the second most populous city in Australia with its beautiful sites and amazing scenery. Melbourne has been identified in so many spheres as one of the most livable...

Top 5 Places to Visit in Australia

The sheer, breathtaking expanse of the Australian continent is a thing of beauty. The vast landmass is actually packed with awe-inspiring landmarks to see and countless blood-pumping activities to partake...

Adhari Park: Why is it one of the must-visit sites in Bahrain?

Despite its small area that does not exceed the 1,000 square kilometers mark, the Kingdom of Bahrain is known for being rich of touristic sites and attractions. Bahrain comprises destinations...

Exciting Off Road Adventures In Western Australia

Western Australia has long been a top destination for off roading enthusiasts from all across the world. One look at some of the top off road destinations on offer in...

Things to Do and See in Ballina, Australia

The intricate coastline of New South Wales is renowned for its sumptuous, decadent beaches, hidden resorts and secret camping spots. A long and slow ride down the winding highway that...

Guide to Travel Necessities for 2018

Sure, it sounds like quite an adventure to hit an open road with nothing but a one-way ticket and an open mind, but the harsh reality is – you won’t...

Top Sightseeing Spots in New Zealand

New Zealand is one of the most fascinating locations for anyone to visit in the world. After all, it’s a place with a variety of unique landscapes, but it isn’t...

Must-Pack Items for a Travel Blogging Boss

As a travel blogger, you get to see and explore so many wonderful destinations and meet various interesting people, but before you embark on a new adventure you need to...

Fashion & Beauty

4 Signs it’s Time for a Facial Peel

If you love keeping your skin in the best possible condition but you’re not always sure when you should be scheduling a facial treatment such as a peel, this article...

The Reason Why You Were Rejected as a Hair Transplant Patient

There are a number of ways to address hair loss, with hair transplants being the most common. Taking the time to find an appropriate hair transplant clinic and the necessary funding...

Five Trends That Will Transform Beauty

Remember the Groucho brows, the palm tree hairstyle and the giant hair that were huge trends back in the ‘80s? Well, those times are behind us, fortunately, and with each...

Fashion Trends to Know in 2019

No matter if you’re a die-hard fashionista or just a girl who loves to keep up with the latest fashion trends from time to time – you’re definitely at the...

Five Fabulous Items Every Single Makeup Bag Must Have According to The Experts At Lime Crime

Most women find it necessary to bring a purse with them. A purse makes it easy to keep items around that they need during the day. One of the most...

The Best Eyelash Enhancers in the Market Today

The human obsession with beauty goes way back in our history as can be seen in antique paintings and sculpture and it is one that continues to persist today and...

Popular articles from Modern Australian

Tips for remodeling your basement into pleasant living spaceThe Reason Why You Were Rejected as a Hair Transplant PatientLeconfield Wines: Four legged family members now part of many weddingsModern magnesium: the pharmaceutical-grade topical relief health productWhy you should hire equipment for your next party or eventLiving life without fearFive Trends That Will Transform Beauty Moving home is always complicated but even more challenging in SydneyWhy Chocolate Can Be Good For YouHow to Choose the Right Wedding SuitTop 5 Non-Surgical Cosmetic Procedures for Men in 20192019’s Unforgettable Valentine’s Day Ideas In SydneyFashion Trends to Know in 2019David Lennon:   Five reasons to get your car loan sorted before visiting a dealership5 Sleep-Friendly Bedroom Tips for Career Women