Unauthorised Hawking Play Opens in BathDate: 16 June 2000
The life, loves and scientific theories of Professor Stephen Hawking are the basis for a new - unauthorised - play by Robin Hawdon. God and Stephen Hawking, starring Robert Hardy and Stephen Boxer, opens at the Theatre Royal in Bath on 22 August 2000 prior to a regional tour and expected West End transfer.
Hawking is perhaps the most famous physicist on the planet, known as much for his scientific brilliance as for his triumph over disability. Now 58, he has lived several decades beyond the time that doctors first pronounced him terminally ill with motor neurone disease and, as such, has become the longest living survivor of the disease.
Though the professor is wheelchair-bound and capable of speech only through a synthesised voice, he has continued to work. He travels around the world to give lectures and has received numerous awards, medals and honorary degrees. He has also written several essays and books for both the scientific community and laypeople. His A Brief History of Time became a surprise international hit, selling more than 25 million copies to date.
Hawdon's play traces Hawking's personal and professional life from his early 20s on. In addition to an intriguing cast of characters - including the professor's wives and associates as well as Newton, Einstein, Pope John Paul, the Queen and God himself - the play presents Hawking's theories on phenomena such as the Big Bang, black holes and the mysteries of the universe.
Hawking has rarely indulged public interest in his personal life and has not given his approval for God and Stephen Hawking. The playwright has, however, collaborated with Hawking's first wife, Jane, who published her own account - Music to Move the Stars: A Life with Stephen - in which she accused her ex-husband of being a tyrant. Hawking left Jane, and their three children, in 1990 after 25 years of marriage. He is now married to his former nurse.
In God and Stephen Hawking, Stephen Boxer (whose credits include TV's Rough Treatment) stars as the professor. Robert Hardy (from TV's All Creatures Great and Small) will play God as well Einstein, Newton and Pope John Paul. All other parts will be played by just two additional actors.
Robin Hawdon's credits include The Mating Game as well as adaptations of The Old Devils and Don't Dress for Dinner. God and Stephen Hawking is directed by Jonathan Church whose production of Fanny Burney's 200-year-old comedy A Busy Day opens next week at the West End's Lyric Theatre.