An exquisite, internationally acclaimed play about love, math, and how the past and future connect. In 1913, a clerk in rural India named Srinivasa Ramanujan sends a letter to famed mathematician G.H. Hardy, filled with astonishing mathematical theorems. In the present, a math professor and a businessman fall in love. Told in a whirlwind of vignettes spanning history and time, A Disappearing Number is a love letter to numbers, blending the beauty of everyday relationships with the mysticism of the cosmos.
***Winner of the 2007 Critics’ Circle Theatre, Evening Standard, and Laurence Olivier awards for Best New Play,
“a masterwork… one of the best theater pieces ever created about the intersection of mathematics, physics and string theory, a fine choice for a parent or grandparent wishing to inspire a mathematically inclined teen and a show, now at TimeLine Theatre, with enough ideas to make your head explode… explodes with so much intellectual stimulus it makes you giddy, thrilled, intoxicated, ready to talk…. Bowling and his creative crew manage a great deal, a smart and deftly articulated show, as you would expect from this respected, audience-centered theater and it took real guts to dive into a piece so difficult to separate from the artists who were part of its creation. A refuge for your weekend, Hardy might have said.”
-Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune
“…a brilliant theatrical venture… a superbly multi-layered, deeply human story laced with immense emotional depth, great bursts of humor, a magical infusion of musical and choreographic accents, and such compelling performances that you have no doubt the actors could pass the most challenging exams even without the aid of their scripts…. This is a stunning take on a supremely modern work — one that demands (and receives) its own touch of genius…. Al, whose company is involved with call centers in Bangalore and whose own interaction with a British Telecom customer service agent (played with pure vocal enchantment by Arya Daire) provides some of the show’s biggest laughs… “A Disappearing Number,” which takes us from the birth of ideas to the ashes of mortality in less than two flawless hours, could not be more beautiful.”
-Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun Times
“Fortunately for Chicago audiences, the British collective Complicite know enough about string theory and Hindu philosophy to demonstrate that, in terms of the theatrical arts, the forest and trees are one in the same. TimeLine Theatre’s production of “A Disappearing Number” may well bring to mind some of the more daring productions of the last several years (“A Curious Incident,” “2666,” “Constellations”and “United Flight 232” all came to mind), but there is a unique totality to this production that, like a convergent sequence approaching infinity, comes close to perfection…. Lead by Nick Bowling, whose skills and talents in the realm of movement-based direction find their ideal match with Complicite’s brand of storytelling, “A Disappearing Number” is a story about the complexities of ethnicity. You can sense that the question of “Where are you from?” is charged with meaning for this exceptionally talented cast…. In truth, there has never been a bad time for difficult conversations about the relationship between colonizer and colonized, who belongs and who doesn’t. In 2017, TimeLine’s desire to keep art and life in a conversation with each other is as essential as it’s ever been. “A Disappearing Number” will change the way you look at the world, most likely for the better. It is history, time, love and math all wrapped into a compelling yet enigmatic whole. It does not provide answers so much as provokes questions that you never knew you wanted the answers to. It encourages curiosity. It offers a glimpse at the immense potential of theater and humankind.”