“There is an art to science,” said Isaac Asimov, “And a science in art; the two aren’t enemies, but different aspects of the whole.” This has been borne out in theatre in Bengaluru. This year, Gautam Raja’s The Vaidya’s Oath, on antimicrobial resistance, and Nilanjan Choudhury’s The Square Root of a Sonnet, on the life of Chandrasekhar Subrahmanyan, who discovered black holes, were staged to acclaim. Previously, too, plays such as Sundar Sarukkai’s Hardy’s Apology and Michael Frayn’s Copenhagen, directed by Prakash Belawadi, were landmark productions.
The success of plays based on science in Bengaluru could perhaps be attributed to the city being the IT hub and being home to premier scientific institutes.
But writing and directing a science play is challenging. Nilanjan says, “Marrying high science and storytelling in two hours without dumbing down takes a lot of effort. These are plays where the audience has to work as hard as the actors and the director.”