Reviews for 'Irrational'

Encore Michigan

"Styles carries the Pythagoras role with great craft, channeling a bit of Jesus in Godspell and perhaps Marc Anthony, with a little of Joel Osteen, and conveys the cult of personality that we believe Pythagoras to have been. And his vocals ring through TheatreNova’s small space. Gerstner mixes Hippasus’ sly-dog personality, but with his other better side that can be vulnerable and caring about the truth. Brett’s vocals are delightful and her clever and knowingness as a foil to Pythagoras is handled just right." - David Kiley, Encore Michigan




"Lewis’ score may be at its best when Pythagoras and the chorus are involved, but it’s consistently strong throughout the play. Lewis’ songs are excellent, mostly traditional show-tune stuff with bits and pieces of funk, R&B, and rock thrown in to lively effect. His work here is sometimes quite complex, with some of the group numbers featuring accomplished use of counterpoint and harmony. The tunes are thoroughly catchy and you’re likely to walk out of the show with at least one of them stuck in your head." - Patrick Dunn



"Five out of five stars! The music is eclectic, beautiful, hilarious, catchy and plot-relevant—the harmonies actually demonstrate Pythagoras’s discovery of how various ratios (e.g., the length of a plucked string) are expressed melodically. And the clever lyrics and brilliant book not only bring dimension (literally) to the Pythagorean Theorem we all learned in school, but help us grasp the organic ubiquity of The Golden Ratio. Ann Arbor’s David Wells (playwright) and R. MacKenzie Lewis (composer) have structured this show with all the architectural precision and attention to proportion that makes the Parthenon sublime. Carla Milarch, who has been developing the production with the authors for years (dating back to Performance Network Theatre days), directs an impressive and inventive cast." - Patty Nolan




Milarch: ...even though it’s light-hearted and fun, it also has this political edge that’s very relevant right now. The Pythagoreans are “the establishment” and no one questions what they do. Until this young man comes along who says, “No, that’s not how the world works, your theory is flawed. It’s actually the rational that’s crazy!”

Lewis: Most of the music is based in the rock genre but influenced by everything under the sun. There’s some 1970’s rock anthem feels, some hip hop influences, a little angsty punk, and a few Burt Bacharach moments, to name a few. I wasn’t trying to capture the sound of ancient Greece, but rather capture the feeling the characters are going through at any given moment.




The Pythagorean theorem is common knowledge, but playwright David Wells saw material for a rock musical in the bizarre true story of the man behind the math [Pythagoras].“There was one little throwaway paragraph that talked about Pythagoras having this devout cult of Pythagoreans that was based on divinity being found in ratios, which is where we get rational numbers,” Wells says. “There was a sentence that said one of his followers discovered irrational numbers and Pythagoras had him killed.”


This activity is supported by the
Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs
and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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