The Proof Stage

Kirsten Shepherd-Barr, author of Theatre and Evolution from Ibsen to Beckett

Marcus du Sautoy, author of Music of the Primes

Jason Rosenhouse, author of Games for Your Mind

Chris Ackerley, coauthor of The Grove Companion to Samuel Beckett

The discovery of alternate geometries, paradoxes of the infinite, incompleteness, and chaos theory revealed that, despite its reputation for certainty, mathematical truth is not immutable, perfect, or even perfectible. Beginning in the last century, a handful of adventurous playwrights took inspiration from the emerging uncertainties of modern mathematics to expand their own artistic boundaries. In The Proof Stage, mathematician Stephen Abbott explores this unlikely collaboration of theater and mathematics.  He probes the impact of mathematics on such influential writers as Alfred Jarry, Samuel Beckett, Berthold Brecht, and Tom Stoppard, and delves into the life and mathematics of Alan Turing as they are rendered onstage. Abbott also examines the post-Arcadia wave of ambitious works by Michael Frayn, David Auburn, Simon McBurney, Snoo Wilson, John Mighton, and others. 

Collectively, these gifted playwrights transform the great philosophical upheavals of mathematics into profound and often poignant revelations about the human journey.

To order

  • COME AND GO by Samuel Beckett director: Annie Ryan,l-r: Barbara Brennan (Ru), Susan Fitzgerald (Vi), Bernadette McKenna (Flo),Beckett Centenary Festival / BITE:06 / The Pit / Barbican Centre, London EC2 31/03/2006,