Mathematics and melodrama don’t quite add up in playwright David Alex’s overwritten yet unaffecting new drama, “Onto Infinity,” presented by Azusa Productions at the Victory Gardens Greenhouse Theater. Its brainy subject matter—the logical science of numbers and mathematics contrasted with the sometimes indeterminate and illogical nature of love and human emotions—is certainly worthwhile, even if it hit its zenith a decade or so ago thanks to Stoppard (“Arcadia”), Frayan (“Copenhagen”) and Auburn (“Proof”) in the theater, and films such as “Good Will Hunting” and “A Beautiful Mind” in the cinema. “Onto Infinity” proffers pretty much a similar structural equation—brilliant mathematician falls in love with literature professor—but also provides an added twist in that the beauty (the female English teacher) is twenty years older than the geek. Ironically, the May/December aspect to this play—the most interesting for this critic who had an almost four-year relationship with a partner twenty-five years his senior—is simply not developed or executed with credibility, the necessary psychological precision or emotional clarity, and ultimately rings most inauthentic. When it comes to the inexplicable nature of the heart, chronological age indeed may not matter but emotional maturity does. Throughout scenes in which points of view shift at the will of the playwright rather than for internal, character-motivated reasons, its evident that while this couple might share the same IQ, they are light-years apart in terms of EQ, and that for all the superfluous scientific discourse and quotes from literature, these people never share a common language that would make you want to root for their pairing. Despite a “movie of the week” fatal disease ending—that still cannot make up for a play largely lacking in dramatic action—there is very little at stake here, making “Onto Infinity” feel less like fully realized drama than a piece of writing Alex needed to purge for personal reasons. (Fabrizio O. Almeida)
At the Victory Gardens Greenhouse, 2257 North Lincoln, (773)871-3000. Thu-Sat 8pm/Sun 3pm. $15-$20. Through Aug 24.