By James Dacey
First there was the LHC rap then the media bonanza for the big September switch-on; also playing their part were the harbingers of doom – foretelling apocalypse from Geneva’s ‘black hole machine’.
Now CERN’s (in)famous experiment is about to get even more dramatic as it provides the fictional setting for a new theatre production.
The Gentlemen’s Tea Drinking Society is produced by Ransom Theatre Company who bill it as “a fast and funny exploration of science, friendship, sexuality and the end of everything as four men face the truth on one fateful night”.
The play was written by Richard Dormer who made a name in 2003 with his internationally-acclaimed portrayal of the talented-yet-troubled snooker legend Alex “Hurricane” Higgins. It also contains an original score by Belfast born DJ David Holmes who produced the music for Ocean’s Twelve and Out of Sight.
Dormer and Co haven’t revealed much about the plot other than it centres around four men in a room, one of whom is a physicist harbouring a very big secret – he’s found the Higgs boson.
This is not the first time physics has taken to the stage. Famous examples include Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia (1993) — a look at the life of Byron which incorporated ideas from thermodynamics and chaos theory; and Michael Fryan’s Copenhagen (1998) — a play built around a 1941 conversation between Neils Bohr and Werner Heisenberg about the nature of the quantum world.
More recently American composer John Adams created an opera based on The Bomb and its creation at the Manhattan project. Dr Atomic premiered in 2005 and finally comes to London this February.
The Gentlemen’s Tea-Drinking Society launches on 4 February at Belfasts’s Old Museum before going on tour across Ireland until 10th March. Later in the year it will appear in Glasgow and London.