My wish to create this show goes up to my discovery of the tragic life of Alan Turing, a British scientist unjustly unrecognized by the general public.
Alan Turing is a mathematician who was engaged by the British Army, though he was anti-militarist, to crack the secrets of the Enigma Machine used by the Nazis to encode their communications. He invents then a machine called “the Turing’s bomb” that cracked this secret code. According to numerous historians, this discovery allowed the Allies to win the Atlantic Battle thus reducing by two years the length of the Great War. At the end of the war, Turing doesn’t receive any official acknowledgment and goes on with his researches on computers on anonymity. Moreover, being a homosexual, which is considered as a crime in England, he’s prosecuted in 1952 for “gross indecency” and condemned to chemical castration. He kills himself in 1954 after bi- ting in an apple poisoned with cyanide, copying his favourite movie Snow-White and the Seven Dwarfs by Walt Disney.
In Mars 2017, for the Festival XS in the Theatre National Wallonie Bruxelles, I decided to create a theatral form about the last fifteen minutes of Alan Turing’s life.
The scene takes place in Turing’s House in Manchester’s suburbs in June 1954. Turing suffers from a chemical castration because of his homosexuality. In fifteen minutes, he will commited suicide.
Why one of the best brains of world has been forced to suicide ?
Idecidedtocreateasetdesignwhichseparatestheaudienceand theactorthankstoaglass.Thiscreatesadistanceandallows to watch Turing as a laboratory animal. The audience can also feel to attend a death sentence.
One of difficulties of a play about a person who existed is to give biographical informations without being didactic. That’s why the play is divided in three parts.
In the first part, Alan Turing is wrting a letter to a friend explaining what he is currently suffering : chemical castration, no gratitude from bristish governement despite his role in WW2.
In the second one, a puppet scene between Hitler and Churchill allows to explain the Atlantic War’s issues and how breaking the Enigma Code thanks to Turing enables the Allies to win against Axix powers.
At last, we attend to the suicide by seeing Turing biting an apple.
Several representations are possible in a same day thanks to the short time of the play and the short audience needed.
Codebreaker XS : Alan Turing is a play on collective legacy, acknowledgment, impeded sexuality or confine- ment, trying to answer the following question:
How does society consider its visionaries and what do these fates tell about the time we live in?
Artistic direction and writing :
as Alan Turing
Set design :
Lighthing design :
Video design :
Sound design :
et Anthony Gonçalves (Collectif 6am)
Computing design :
MENTIONS DE PRODUCTION
Creation Studio Théâtre National Wallonie-Bruxelles
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