06 June 2014

Isaac's Eye

A couple of weeks ago, we went to the theatre to watch a play. It has been a while, and the last time I watched a play was last winter, when I watched White Rabbit Red Rabbit by Nassim Soleimanpour. This time, we went back to English Theatre Berlin to watch Isaac's Eye, by Lucas Hnath.

This is a scientific comedy, mixing fact and fiction about Isaac Newton's life. More specifically, this play narrates the episode of Newton's research regarding light, as during the 17th century, scientists still haven't figured out that light is dually a wave and a particle. Newton argued that light is a particle, while his critic, Robert Hooke, argued that light is a wave. This play does not touch upon Newton's most famous work, which is on gravity and his three laws.

Anyway, the play only consisted of four actors playing 5 characters. Isaac, his "girlfriend" Catherine, his competitor Robert Hooke, and a dying man, who also plays an actor that constantly breaks the fourth wall (more about that later). Perhaps one of the things I like about plays is that the plot is typically more interesting and important, due to the fact that there are typically less characters. Comparing plays to movies, a play will be a failure if the plot is not riveting, while movies can be successful even if the plot is so thin, as long as you have enough action going on. Here, the plot constantly evolves, even introducing new material in the second act. While the first act pretty much sets the plot material for the rest of the play, there are constantly little twists here and there that are even introduced all throughout.

That being said, this is a scientific comedy, and there were several comedic elements. For example, every time the word "light" has been mentioned, the light in the stage changes. Every time the word "dog" is mentioned, dogs would bark. And yes, the fourth wall is broken so many times, with this narrator and actor talking to the audience so many times.

Overall, we have enjoyed this play very much. I am glad that we saw this, and I am looking forward to seeing more productions from this theatre company, as it seems that all plays that I have seen from them were all good.

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