Last night, I caught a new Australian play derived from the life of logician Kurt Godel, called Incompleteness. The play is by playwright Steven Schiller and actor Steven Phillips, and was peformed at Melbourne’s famous experimental theatrespace, La Mama, in Carlton. Both script and performance were superb: Congratulations to both playwright and actor, and to all involved in the production.
Godel was famous for having kept every piece of paper he’d ever encountered, and the set design (pictured here) included many file storage boxes. Some of these were arranged in a checkerboard pattern on the floor, with gaps between them. As the Godel character (Phillips) tried to prove something, he took successive steps along diagonal and zigzag paths through this pattern, sometimes retracing his steps when potential chains of reasoning did not succeed. This was the best artistic representation I have seen of the process of attempting to do mathematical proof: Imre Lakatos’ philosophy of mathematics made theatrical flesh.
There is a photograph of the La Mama billboard at Paola’s site.