Toronto Fringe 2009 – Singularity of Being – Tarragon

By Dana Lacey

Fringe crowd

Be sure to check out Singularity of Being, playing at Tarragon Theatre for Fringe. “Loosely” based on the life of Stephen Hawking, the play follows the life of Roland Mathers as he grows from a bored student with big ideas (“Einstein gave us the map…I can’t wait to fill it in.”) to a fully paralyzed and utterly famous shit disturber. It’s a story about man against god, a cosmic chess game neither wants to quit (the tag line: what price would you pay to see the face of god?)

Singularity of Being imagines Mathers/Hawking’s friends and family as they struggle to earn a place in his busy mind. Clinton Walker plays Mathers with passion and humour. You fall in love with the characters–especially Hawking and his wife, Sally–and you want to scream as you watch the smartest man alive fail to understand how humans work, and systematically alienate everyone he loves (this one’s a tear-jerker folks.)

So just what does “loosely based” mean? I did some extensive reading of Hawkings Wikipedia page, looking for the chapter on “losing faith in self” and “ruined marriage”…nary to be found. But watching Mathers as he progresses into full paralysis, it’s hard to tell where fact ends and fiction takes over. I can see that Fringe darling and writer T. Berto took liberties in some things, yet stayed true to the spirit of Hawking’s life work. The dialogue moves swiftly as Mathers/Hawking starts concocting ideas that appear too complex to grasp, while explaining them to laypeople like myself with intelligence, wit and simplicity.

I loved Soo Garay as Sally, the fiercely bright, spunky woman who dragged Mathers from the darkness of dystrophy and into the spotlight. Don’t be scared off by the science; You will leave Singularity of Being a little humbled, a little teary, and little smarter.

Photo: Dana Lacey

Details:

Singularity of Being is play at Tarragon Mainspace (30 Bridgman Ave., Toronto)

Showtimes:
Wed Jul 1: 10:30pm
Sat Jul 4: 5:15pm
Mon Jul 6: 8:00pm
Tues Jul 7: 3:00pm
hurs Jul 9: Noon
Fri Jul 10 8:45pm
Sun Jul 12: 5:15pm

Tickets are $10, and are available online