Posts Tagged ‘Theater’

Calculus: The Musical

December 8, 2011

On Tuesday a friend invite me to join him for a show at Huge Improv Theater called Calculus: The Musical. It was a small production. Two actors portrayed many different characters, there was no intermission, and there were several frenzied costume changes during the show. Both actors played guitar at points, and one had several pieces on an electric keyboard. It had all the elements that I love in a musical comedy: Witty characters, fast-paced dialogue and action, a dash of slapstick, various overdone accents, a multimedia presentation, a blending of musical styles (from classical to rap and a lot in between), and a man playing Sir Isaac Newton talking to a little action figure of himself (“Little Isaac”) and then having the action figure answer back in a higher-pitched version of his true voice. Okay, that last was specific to Calculus: The Musical and not at all something I look for in musical comedies.

As the name might imply to those among you who are particularly quick-witted, it was about calculus. As a mathphobe who never made it all the way through a calculus course I was worried that all of the jokes would go right over my head. I did miss some of them; several times my friend’s giggling indicated that something humorous had transpired on stage after some dialoguey gobbledygook about derivitives, functions, limits and infinite series. But the writer managed to incorporate calculus without making the storyline completely unintelligible to the uninitiated.

You can listen to songs from the musical at maththeater.com. Here are the lyrics from the only song that I can actually claim to have understood entirely. It’s called 5 Sizes of Numbers:

There are 5 sizes of numbers,
Big Infinity and small Zero,
And the Finite in the middle,
They’re the ones, I’m sure you know.

But now we look between Finite and Zero.
To numbers so small, they’re nothing at all,
But still a little larger than a Zero.
Their name is Infinitesimal.

On the other side of Finite,
There are numbers too large to say,
Infinites are what we call them,
They are big, in every way.

But they will never quite be Infinity,
They’re not quite as big, not even close.
We’ll use all of these numbers in Cal-cu-lus,
The numbers, I love the most.

It only gets nerdier from there. They have a song about Bernhard Reimann in the style of Eminem’s Without Me. Just sayin’.

Calculus: The Musical has been touring nationally for six years, and it stopped in Minneapolis only for a couple of days. But they have shows scheduled from now through May of 2012 in different parts of the country. I had a good time, maybe even learned a thing or two, and it reminded me that I really need to stop procrastinating and start reading that copy of Jennifer Ouellette’s Calculus Diaries that I got for Christmas and have left languishing on my bookshelf for the last year!

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Dragons, Wrestling, Italian and iPad

April 9, 2010

All my friends are still talking about this damn “How to Train Your Dragon” movie, and it’s still holding strong at 98% on rottentomatoes.com.  Alright, I admit it…my curiosity is peaked.  And it’s still playing at the IMAX… 

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Another thing that has aroused my interest is a new play that just opened at Mixed Blood Theater in Minneapolis called The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Diety.  It’s all about professional wrestling!  Well, and slightly heavier stuff like the concept of race in America.  From the press release:

The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity examines America’s ideals and fears through a comic and provocative look at geopolitics and professional wrestling.  Told from the perspective of an unlikely underdog, Macedonio Guerra, a Puerto Rican wrestler who has made a career as a “professional loser”, Chad Deity tells the tale of an African-American champion pitted against a trash-talking Indian athlete from the streets.  Racial politics and wrestling make odd bedfellows everywhere but on Mixed Blood’s stage; political correctness and conventional expectations are thrown out of the ring in this theatrical event.

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I bought a grammer workbook for Italian last night at the bookstore (McGraw-Hill Easy Italian Step-by-Step).  I wonder if anyone really thinks that they’re going to get along in a foreign country with “Language X for Travelers” books.  I mean, how much patience would you have for someone if they approached you on the street, gripping a book, mumbling to themselves, pointing frantically at the pages and speaking something that sounds somewhat like heavily-accented English?  I think a lot of us would find somewhere else to be pretty quickly.  Seriously, take a few minutes to learn the subject pronouns (I, you, he, she, we, you (plural), they) and how to conjugate the big three verbs (to be, to have, to do/to go), and you’re in a much better position to get your point across.

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The Hubby and I have a Mac Date tonight.  We’re going to take my desktop Mac to the Genius Bar in an attempt to identify why I can’t upload my CD language programs.  We’re also going in order to pet the cute new iPads.  I think I’m out of the woods with my desire to have an iPad – an iPhone will be plenty for me, and for the price I think I’d have to go with a PC laptop before an iPad.  For those of you still struggling with the decision To Buy or Not To Buy, The Maniachi’s blog has provided this easy-to-follow flow chart: