The Know Theater production of “Calculus: The Musical” does the impossible — it makes calculus interesting.
The musical is a humorous summary of a variety of concepts and history of calculus. The show originated as a way for one of the creators to help his students learn complex calculus information.
Kate Berman and Joshua Nicholson were the only two actors featured during the musical. The duo told the story of a number of calculus theories through playing a variety of roles including those of Isaac Newton, Archimedes and Riemann.
They maintained a surprising humor throughout the show and kept the audience laughing the entire time. The show began with Berman and Nicholson splitting the audience into three groups each waving their arms at different rates to demonstrate a waveform, and from there the show only improved.
Berman and Nicholson were accompanied by a small screen which had numerous items projected onto it throughout the show. The screen showed a variety of videos and a slide show with information that could be found in calculus classes.
“Calculus: The Musical” began with an attention-grabbing song set to the tune of the classic Beatles song “In My Life.” The musical’s song was appropriately named “Five Sizes of Numbers.” It delighted the audience while explaining the different types of numbers used in calculus, including infinity, finite, zero, infinitesimal, infinites. The part of the perfectly delivered lyrics state, “We’ll use all of these numbers in calculus/the numbers, I love the most.”
One of the best things about “Calculus: The Musical” was the wide variety of song genres used to explain the different theories. Another extremely memorable song was set to Eminem’s “Without Me” titled “Without Riemann.”
“And this looks like a job for Rie/mann, add it up to from A to B and/the more slices that you see/can increase your accuracy.”
The seemingly complex concept was instantly simplified and mixed with humor during this song.
The musical was concluded with a variation of Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart” titled “L’Hopital (I have Calculus in the Heart).”
“Once upon a time I had trouble with math, but now they all think that I’m smart. There’s nothing I can’t do, I have calculus in the heart.”
This song was a perfect conclusion to the hour long musical.
Other songs include, “The Limit’s Alright” based on the Who’s “The Kids are Alright;” “Differentiabul” set to They Might Be Giants’ song “Istanbul;” and “Maxima and Minima” set to Offenbach’s “Can Can.”
“Calculus: The Musical” makes calculus interesting and entertaining for audience members of all ages with a wide range of mathematical backgrounds. The musical took on Saturday, and the performance was free to the public.
Saturday’s performance was one of the last local showings before the musical will start to travel around the country performing. “Calculus: The Musical” has been touring and performing at schools since 2008. For the first time the musical is having performances on both the west and east coasts.