In the mood for a smart indie Broadway? A small time play with anything BUT small time talent, David Freeman’s “A First Class Man” is a fascinating true story set in the early 1900s of Indian mathematical genius, Srinivasa Ramanujan.
The seemingly aloof, but intensely spiritual, Ramanujan comes to astounding and complicated mathematical conclusions based on what he believes is God-sent intuition alone. He is brought over from India to study at Trinity College in Cambridge with the backing of English mathematician, G.H. Hardy. The play is a captivating exploration of the relationship between Hardy, an atheist and rationalist, and Ramanujan, a spiritual math prodigy. The faith vs. rationality concept in the play is especially interesting, considering today’s political climate.
The talent of the small cast blew me away. Steve French, who took the role of Hardy, plays the conflicted character with great subtlety and keeps us guessing. Amir Arison convincingly plays Ramanujan, whose complicated character of a humble but almost freakishly possessed genius reminded me of John Nash’s character from A Beautiful Mind. Vikram Somaya, who plays multiple supporting roles including Ramanujan’s teacher in India, is absolutely brilliant as he easily shifts gears between his characters and moods. Treat yourself to this refreshing Off-Off Broadway, but it’s playing for only for a few more days, so do it quick!
Oh, and a noteworthy perk: the play actually starts on time.
Presented by AlterEgo Productions, your $18 ticket helps give minority actors an opportunity to showcase their talents. (Look for the upcoming Divanee article on AlterEgo, a not-for-profit organization of different professionals with a common passion for theatre).
Go to www.smarttix.com and type in Ramanujan. The show runs through Oct. 21st, Wed.-Sat. at 8 pm and Sat. and Sun. at 2 pm at the 45th Street Theatre, 345 W. 45th St. (btw 8th and 9th).
*Pictures courtesy of AlterEgo Productions