Thursday, March 10, 2016

Theatrical Portrait of Life at Alan Turing's Bletchley Park

On March 10 and 20 in Trenton, one of my teachers in the acting world, June Ballinger, will be performing a monologue she wrote about her mother, who worked at Bletchley Park supporting the work of mathematician Alan Turing to decode the Nazi's Enigma machine. Lest we think that mathematicians and other intellectuals aren't central to a nation's destiny,  here's a testimonial to the impact the work of Turing and others at Britain's decoding center had on the war:
"Turing played a pivotal role in cracking intercepted coded messages that enabled the Allies to defeat the Nazis in many crucial engagements, including the Battle of the Atlantic; it has been estimated that this work shortened the war in Europe by as many as two to four years.[6]"
Turing wrote his thesis during two years in Princeton in the 1930s, under the direction of Alonzo Church, a former student of Oswald Veblen's. 

Though made famous by the movie The Imitation Game, Turing's decoding work was kept secret long after WWII. June's mother and other employees were sworn to secrecy by Winston Churchill. 

June interviewed her mother, wishing to learn about this exciting and pivotal time in her life. She has used the interviews as material for an extended monologue. June is usually wrapped up in her role as Artistic Director of Passage Theatre in Trenton, so this is a great and infrequent opportunity to witness her extraordinary talent in a role close to her heart.

Here's a description from the Passage Theatre website

"An 80-year-old former British code breaker attends a Remembrance Day service in England. She looks back on her life and the secrets about her work and identity that she has held for over 50 years. Will she ever be truly known by her children? How will she be remembered? 
Written and performed by June Ballinger and inspired by her mother’s work at Bletchley Park during WWII. Directed by Janice Goldberg."

June Ballinger's Remembrance is part of a series of monologues being presented through March 20th. If you've never been to Passage Theatre, it's in a beautiful historic building easily accessed from Route 1. (directions)

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