Meet Siddhartha Rajan
Siddhartha Rajan is an actor in "A Disappearing Number" by Complicite at TimeLine Theatre running until April 9, 2017. This is an exquisite, internationally acclaimed play about love, math, and how the past and future connect. "A Disappearing Number " is a love letter to numbers, blending the beauty of everyday relationships with the mysticism of the cosmos. Winner of the 2007 Critics’ Circle Theatre, Evening Standard, and Laurence Olivier awards for Best New Play, TimeLine’s production of A Disappearing Number is a new and rare staging of this mesmerizing play that the Chicago Tribune raved “explodes with so much intellectual stimulus it makes you giddy, thrilled, intoxicated, ready to talk.”
Siddhartha is a recent graduate of Roosevelt University making his TimeLine Theatre debut. Meet Siddhartha as he answers, "What's Your Story?".
What's your personal story?
My name is Siddhartha Ramanujam Rajan. I am originally from Huntley, Illinois. When I was 9 years old I very fortunately was cast in "The Wizard of Oz" as a munchkin, oddly enough that small role led me to realizing theatre was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. When I was fifteen my parents sent me to an arts boarding school where I really got to dive into the career I would learn to love so much. Since then it was an uphill struggle but I wouldn't take back a single moment. Today, looking back, it really is amazing to think I am able to work with such marvelous artists at Timeline Theatre.
What's your character's story in "A Disappearing Number”?
Ramanujan's story in "A Disappearing Number" is about being the other. Although he was a genius he was still heavily alienated due to his heritage and religion. His religion is also the reason for his sickness and inevitably his death. In the play he is an ethereal being who lives in all times at once while simultaneously only existing in one. It is because of this that Ramanujan's story in the show isn't just his own, but shared in the parallels that represent all of our lives, forever interconnected.
What challenges does your character face telling this story?
Ramanujan has many challenges throughout the show, such as finding a way to get to England when his mother has strictly forbidden him, or searching for a collaborator who understands math as well as he when the next best mathematician in India can't even understand his work. His greatest challenge is the extreme isolation he deals with once arriving in Cambridge. Being a Brahman means that you have reached the upper echelon of humanity, that considered he refused to change his diet or his way of life. Englishmen found this to be ridiculous and strange, which led to him having very few friends. The last and greatest challenge he deals with is the illness which eventually consumes him.
How does your character overcome those challenges?
Ramanujan is able to overcome his simpler challenges such as leaving India through pure luck or what some may call fate. His mother allows him to go to Cambridge after she has a vision of him in Temple. Meeting G.H. Hardy finally gave him the creative outlet he needed. Even the isolation he is able to overcome with time due to the level of respect his colleagues had for his work. His illness, on the other hand, gets the best of him and of course leads to his untimely death.
Any other comments?
This story is one that is not easy to put into words. Ramanujan's life may seem very tragic, however I can't imagine he would have wanted it any other way. As a Brahman he was fatalistic and would have accepted this as his destiny. As Ruth says in the show "Ramanujan's legacy is his work."