Some thoughts on THE HIDDEN SKY by composer/lyricist Peter Foley

February 11, 2010

In a March 2000 interview with The Philadelphia Inquirer, THE HIDDEN SKY composer/lyricist gave some insight into his thoughts about the play and connecting the ideas of math and spirituality:

“[THE HIDDEN SKY] isn’t in any way a math lesson. One of first things we considered was ‘How can we talk about math in a theatrical language that isn’t going to get bogged down in the details?’ and I hope we have been successful at doing that.
The audience doesn’t have to understand every detail to understand what drives mathematicians and the elation the mathematician feels when everything comes into place.”

“In the most simple terms, we see [THE HIDDEN SKY] as a journey of spiritual awakening. Ganil is looking for her home, where she fits in and can truly grow. At first she feels it is in the society she was born into, then in the underground of scientists. Finally she realizes it’s not in either place, and that she must venture out on her own…  We were fascinated by the irony of using science and mathematics as vehicles to spirituality. In our world we think of them as being diametrically opposed.”

“In the world of abstract mathematics, utility doesn’t enter into the equation. It’s all about elegance, simplicity and beauty. When they describe a thing clearly, whittle it down to its essence, and have a logical proof, that’s considered a job well done. . . .  That drive unites all of us, where we want to discover things, we want to learn how stuff works, we want to find things that are beautiful, and that’s what the musical is about. Hopefully, everyone will understand from the way we tell the story that mathematics is just a metaphor.”

-Excerpted from Keating, Douglas. “MUSICAL NUMBERS.” The Philadelphia Inquirer 1 March 2000: D01. Print.

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