Theater: Ingenuousness And Genius BREAKING THE CODE

by Hugh Whitemore

The title of Hugh Whitemore's elegant and poignant biographical play contains at least four layers of meaning. Taken together, they explain what intrigued Whitemore in the life of Alan Turing, an obscure if influential British mathematician. The most obvious reference is to Turing's cracking the Nazi Enigma code, credited by Winston Churchill as a key intelligence feat of World War II. Confronted with an enemy that could change its code in a trice, almost infinitely and randomly, via a complex encrypting machine, Turing outwitted the device by building a sort of early computer. A second allusion is to the code of...