Dr Zeeman’s Catastrophe Machine
A new autobiographical spoken word show about love, loss and rolling with the punches, all aided by a mathematical catastrophe machine.
SHORTLISTED FOR “Best Spoken Word Show” in SABOTEUR AWARDS 2018.
Directed by Hannah Jane Walker
Produced by Melanie Abrahams and Tilt
Projections, Soundscape and Machinery by Andre Barreau, Karen Hall and Paul Finlay
Set Design and Lighting Tom Clutterbuck, Paul Finlay and Nikk Turnham
Script Development Ross Sutherland
Stage Manager and show operator Helen Ivory
Martin Figura looks at love and life through a mathematical lens. Whilst Whistle explored his childhood, Doctor Zeeman’s Catastrophe Machine looks at the life he made after. In this new standalone show, Martin tells the story of his adulthood, using sound, images, poetry, machinery and the moon to navigate through marriage, divorce, a father/son road trip and raising a headstrong daughter with Down’s Syndrome. Poetic storytelling with searing honesty, wit and fun.
Is there an equation for love and the behaviour of a beating heart? What can be retrieved from life’s catastrophes and wounds? When our windshield is blurred with rain and we’re wearing our reading glasses, can we learn to look in the rear-view mirror and smile?
A mathematical catastrophe being a point in a model of an input-output system, where a vanishingly small change in the input can produce a large change in the output. Christopher Zeeman invented his catastrophe machine to explain René Thom’s theory in an understandable way to his students in the 1970s. It consists of 2 elastic bands, and a wheel nailed to plywood.
Reviews and Feedback
Martin Figura’s show was one of the highlights of our festival this year. It had a very powerful effect on the audience; months later people still tell me how it has stayed with them.
Eleanor Livingstone, Director StAnza International Poetry Festival
Martin Figura held a packed house wrapped for an hour with his poetic and evocative words. Sharp suit, sharp haircut and sharp mind. Glorious.
Anthony Roberts, Colchester Arts Centre
I was in the audience with my husband who has dementia (just the latest catastrophe in my life) and at that moment I took his hand and felt happy.
A triumph! Wrecked my make up in its triumph (as an aside)! Absolutely brilliant piece…
beautiful writing, inspiring how words measure life’s lessons
…brilliant; moving, funny, interesting, visual and thought-provoking …Love, loss, life, changing, adapting, coping
Utterly, utterly spellbinding. Absolutely amazing it was mine and Bob’s highlight [of StAnza] and many others said the same!