Breaking the Code
by Hugh Whitemore Based on the book Alan Turing, The Enigma by Andrew Hodges
Joseph Gilg directs: Hope Theatre ages 13+
May 30, 31, June 1, 6, 7, 8, at 8pm, June 9 at 2pm
An exceptional biographical drama about a man who broke too many codes: the eccentric genius Alan Turing played a major role in winning World War II by breaking the complex German code called Enigma. He was also the first person to conceive and describe computers. After the war he was put on trial for breaking another code- the taboo against homosexuality. This play is about who he was, what happened to him and why.
Set Design: Michael Walker, Costume Design: Erin Gilday, Lighting Design: Janet Rose, Sound Design: Sam Cain, Technical Director: Bradley Branham, Stage Manager: Jennifer Sandgathe
Q&A with Director Joseph Gilg:
1. Why did you choose this play?
This play was brought to the Theatre Arts Department by Gene Luks on behalf of the Mathematics and Computer Science Departments. They were putting together programming celebrating the Year of Turing, and international recognition of the hundredth anniversary of his birth. Most of the events they had on their agenda were scheduled for spring, 2013 so we arranged for this production to coincide with those events. Beyond that it is a play that I had on my “To Do” list for some time. It presents the story of a relative unknown who was very influential in the history of the twentieth century and the development of our modern society and who showed enormous courage in the face of an intolerant society.
2. In your estimation, what makes the play commercial? To whom will this play most appeal?
The history of the times and Turing’s role in it will appeal to many; his homosexuality and the intolerance of that life-style mid-twentieth century will also resonate with people today. Finally, it is a compelling story, well told and that is always important for a theatre event.
3. Are there any special effects or theatrical elements that are compelling?
The math and science that are important to the play are like a special effect. The German’s Enigma machine, and the code that Turing was responsible for decrypting is a fascinating mathematical puzzle that will intrigue and delight people who like that sort of thing.
4. What do you think the public should know about this play?
> He is responsible for the development of the modern computer having written up the basic idea in 1938; current models running today have not gone beyond what he wrote about in that paper.
> He was responsible for the machines and the ideas employed to crack the German Enigma code that allowed the Allies to know German strategy and troop movements from early in the war to its end. Estimates credit his work with shortening the war by at least two years if not preventing a Nazi victory all together.
> He was a gay man living in a time when that lifestyle was unacceptable in society and was, in fact, against the law.