What follows is a set of notes, ideas and sketches which were used in the development of the play, its script and design.

Developing the characters

We had three characters we wanted to explore and portray in the piece. This page shows how the initial abstract sketches developed into full-blown characters with a motivation and journey to make.

Initial notes:
The Aleph whose universe is Time (texts concerned with memory and dream, mainly Borges poetic texts, ethereal, blurred; materials come from texts and are very individual and sensual; maybe always drawing in white sand/salt)
The Librarian whose universe is Library (inhabiting the Library of Babel, Borges's ideas about the universe; books/pages of books; materials centre on books and pages - plays infinite pages of code/text, mirrors and building an elaborate hexagonal structure; maybe wears hexagonal shoes, ends up inside the CAVE - 3D immersive environment)
The Geometer whose universe is the Mathematical Universe (concrete mathematical ideas imposed on 'empty space'; texts from Poincaré and distilled transcriptions from 'Marcus Explains' videos; materials include blackboard/slate, string, spyscope; makes maps out of pages dropped by Librarian; concerned with pathways and eventually makes three journeys where he goes out one way and comes back the other side).
I'm imagining the overall universe at the start has the 'washed up' quality of the previous draft, but more constructed and 'in swing'. The materials don't get tidied away but used in process of each character progressing their ideas; each character is busy with some kind of material activity of building/constructing, not necessarily facing audience (cameras to show alternative view) and possibly sitting a lot of the time. The Librarian is particularly concerned with hexagons, (but only him) while the others have their own obsessions. Distinct sound worlds for each character. The worlds link up at certain points, with some material performed as an ensemble, but essentially the idea is to weave and counterpoint three distinct strands.

Amelia Aleph character

The female character from the Aleph could be Beatriz Viterbo the character in the Aleph:
Beatriz Viterbo in profile and in full colour
Beatriz wearing a mask, during the Carnival of 1921
Beatriz at her First Communion
Beatriz on the day of her wedding to Roberto Alessandri
Beatriz soon after her divorce, at a luncheon at the Turf Club
Beatriz at a seaside resort in Quilmes with Delia San Marco Porcel and Carlos Argentino
Beatriz with the Pekingese lapdog given her by Villegas Haedo
Beatriz, front and three-quarter views, smiling, hand on her chin...
"After the age of fifty, all change becomes a hateful symbol of the passing of time. Besides, the scheme concerned a house that for me would always stand for Beatriz. I tried explaining this delicate scruple of regret, but Daneri seemed not to hear me."

In searching for an images of Beatriz Viterbo listed above the image of Amelia Earhart accidently appeared on the screen. This led to developing the idea of Amelia Aleph - a mix of the aviator and the Aleph.

During an attempt to make a circumnavigational flight of the globe in 1937 in a Lockheed model 10 Electra, Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan disappeared over the central Pacific Ocean near Howland Island fascination with her life, career and disappearance continues to this day.
We decided to use the story of Amelia Earhart to create a piece about the Poincaré conjecture as in our imagination her attempt to circumnavigate the globe and the mystery of her disappearance became a model to simplify the idea of discovering shape of some thing you can not see all of through a journey. Mathematicians often explain difficult ideas of maths of higher dimensions by going down a dimension - e.g. in order to explore something in 4 or more dimensions explaining it first in three. Using the idea of circumnavigation helped to understand the idea that the earth is a 2-sphere wrapped in 3 dimensions, which led us to be able to imagine a 3-sphere wrapped in 4 dimensions.

When Amelia was trying to find Howland island, her radio antenna was broken so she couldn't hear the 'other side'. They attempted to communicate with her in morse code, and for a period of time repeated the letter A  . -

The letter A is a heartbeat...'iambic infineter'
Each dash is worth 3 dots; each letter has three 'spaces' between it and the next one, so AAAAAAAAAAA ...  =  a heartbeat in 7.
 Perhaps drifting between the mechanical morse code and a more 'organic' heartbeat
Radio as character

Fragmented radio waves link everything. We found the story of a 15-year-old girl called Betty Klenck in Florida who listened to the radio and apparently heard Amelia Earhart's last transmission. The story is here - known as 'Betty's Notebook' as she transcribed what she was hearing into her notebook as she was hearing it.  We developed the idea that Amelia's medium is shortwave radio; conversations heard in fragments. Bettys notebook also gave us Gershwin's song (sung by Billy Holiday) The Way You Wear Your Hat  for the dance scene.

Reading the books of Amelia Earhart we got the sense of flying being a performance and the radio as her stage. Everything she said through the radio was taken down and interpreted at the other end, every word was hung on, especially as she became more famous. At one time she writes 'Being fairly sure they could understand little of what I said, I became slightly careless with words..' she commented on the scenery and let out her feelings; these were partly misheard and got somewhat misinterpreted. 

Amelia costume circumnavigational circle skirt
Inspired by other circumnavigators.

The thing that we found interesting about circumnavigation is that Poincaré and other mathematicians, along with all the various cosmologists working on these ideas, are in a sense trying to do the same thing but with the universe. Would it be possible to circumnavigate the universe using the same tools (sextant, celestial body and clock)? Well not yet, but you could anticipate the journey and the pathways around it, using topology. So Fred Noonan who everyone understands and 'gets' in the first place as a circumnavigator could transfer his knowledge and interests to the universe, simply by stepping up one dimension. After disappearing he goes to the fourth dimension in his imagination. We thought maybe that the 'mathematician on tv' could be Fred Noonan after he has reappeared, having in the public's minds visited another dimension; or at least having a vision of the universe that everyone wants to hear. TV stuff (steps in the explanation) is based on 'Marcus Explains' videos. [We later transferred the celestial navigator role to AA and ditched the idea of the depicting Fred Noonan as such, instead making him the Navigator Mathematician. We also dropped the idea of the mathematician on TV.]

Vito Dumas (September 26, 1900 - March 28, 1965) was an Argentine single handed sailor. In 1942, while the world was in the depths of World War II he set out on a single-handed circumnavigation of the Southern Ocean. He left Buenos Aires in June, sailing Lehg II, a 31-foot ketch named for the initials of his mistress. He had only the most basic and makeshift gear; he had no radio, for fear of being shot as a spy, and was forced to stuff his clothes with newspaper to keep warm. He made the first single-handed passage of the three great capes and the first successful single-handed passage of Cape Horn. With only three land stops, the legs of his trip were the longest that had been made by a single-hander, and in the most ferocious oceans on the Earth; but most of all, it was a powerful retort to a world which had chosen to divide itself by war.
Amelia Aleph text
(DK:) I have constructed a text for Amelia that mimics the Aleph; these images are taken from her biographical books, including flight logs. These are all from the sky; there are some close-ups but I want to collect more before inserting them. Would like the list in general to be slightly more diverse. This is to be sung.

I saw a light haze
I saw the ocean, smooth and quiet, pale as ice
I saw, in one vista, dozens of vessels who couldn’t see each other
I saw many white gulls fly over green land
I saw the jagged coast
I saw deep into the water and there discerned shoals and currents
I saw my shadow skimming the treetops
I saw white sand and curving, wrinkled water, windswept and barren
I saw a flock of birds rise out of the water like the sparks of a skyrocket
I saw the fog hanging in curly white masses
I saw the land disappear
I saw a multitude of lakes - they were many sizes and shapes
I saw the surface of earth as flat
I saw 360-degree rainbows
I saw shapes in white trailing shimmering veils
I saw the sun splashing to oblivion behind the fog showing pink glows
I saw the world laid out in squares
I saw stars near enough to touch
I saw white clouds in starlight against the black sea
I saw an imaginary land - a considerable territory in the Pacific - formed of cloud shadows
I saw burnished slopes of Mt Tamalpais
I saw a thread of steel specked with tiny beetles
I saw golden-edged clouds then golden nothingness

Mathematician explorer character

The mathematician polymath/Everyman explorer.
He is incredibly excited about the solving of the Poincaré conjecture because he sees it as the starting point for his mapping the shape of the universe, by working out if it's a Sphere. He’s desperate to tell everyone about what maths he knows to aid his discoveries. Now he has a language for a topological journeyHe gets lost in as he attempts a journey to circumnavigate the universe. He consults the librarian for more information, but gets lost he is in the library at the same time as another explorer Amelia who got lost circumnavigating the globe, she also consulted the Librarian, but stays lost and reflective ….. but the every man explorer keeps on moving towards the truth full of optimism that the next part of the journey discovering the shape of the universe is nearly formed.
He is upbeat, sharing all the information with us. Whereas Amelia is inward, romantic and lost, he speaks directly to the audience a mix of announcer, engager, demonstrator, he could ask a member of the audience to hold something while he demonstrates something, breaking the universe we have created between the 3 characters. [This idea was later dropped.] He explains, counts and demonstrates rhythm, pattern, symmetry and maths.
He is Digital /Amelia is Analog
He is looking for proof, a map/diagram, and equation.
He is an explorer who wants to know what shape the universe is……
For him its really exciting and important that Perelman proved the Poincare conjecture.
He wants everyone to know about this discovery and why its so important.
He tells us about past journeys in 2 and 3D and how he hopes to map a journey that will allow him to circumnavigate the universe. But first he needs to work out if it is a sphere……..
He’s heard he might find a parallel dimension or even access a 4th dimension but he can only tell us about it by using a shadow in our dimension

They're all at it - a world-wide race to check the proof

Quoting Poincaré himself, Dr.Yau said, “Thought is only a flash in the
middle of a long night, but the flash that means everything.”
from: Elusive Proof, Elusive Prover: A New Mathematical Mystery

 “Math is really about the human mind, about how people can think effectively, and why curiosity is quite a good guide,” explaining that curiosity is tied in some way with intuition.

“You don’t see what you’re seeing until you see it,” Dr. Thurston said, “but when you do see it, it lets you see many other things.”

Quoting Poincaré himself, Dr.Yau said, “Thought is only a flash in the middle of a long night, but the flash that means everything.”
Librarian Character 
The Librarian character was dormant throughout the time that we have been working with Borges. It took a while for him to 'ripen' and again it was through the merging of different ideas that he came to fruition. Through a Google search we merged George ('Jorge') with another famous librarian Philip Larkin and found George Larkin (depicted here). This suggested an RP radio announcer type, which 'tuned in' to our 1937 'channel' of thinking.

Then, as the radio dimension of Amelia Earhart's story became strong we  found the Librarian became synonymous with the radio itself as a 'character' controlling the universe through the airwaves, linking all our characters in a liminal space. The radio has a strong sonic influence and permutational character. Our Green Man version of the piece does away with the actual person of the Librarian entirely and depicts him entirely through the airwaves (voice of Andrew Sparling).

As the curator of Borges's vast but combinatorially calculable library he has an exhausting but exhilirating existence contemplating its immensity.