Einstein: The man is still a mystery
The memory of a man once known around the globe for his remarkable mind has been tainted by bobble heads, t-shirts and misused tumblr quotes, and is now more known for a photograph with his tongue sticking out than his theory of relativity that made him so famous in the first place.
When someone is made into an icon, the details of their lives become lost, we stop seeing a complex human being and only the glorified version we want to. Einstein has returned to our world to rectify this problem and share with us his struggles as a scientist and as a father to undo the way he is now perceived. Changing the preconceived notions of a room full of people is an arduous task that writer and performer Jack Fry takes on vigorously, but with varying success.
Upon entrance, Fry breaks the fourth wall and pulls the audience in with tacky Einstein memorabilia that has inspired his performance to the present. The occasions during which he interacts with the audience directly add comedic relief to the heavier sections of text and it feels as though actor and audience alike really enjoy these little shared moments. When it comes to the more emotional scenes, Fry’s strongest by far are those shared with his son Hans as a young boy and teenager. Einstein’s grief over the many tribulations in his relationships with his children are the moments that make me feel I best understand the man behind the math, despite only a few short appearances, the character of Hans is the most well developed and clear of the secondary characters.
There were other personal relationships that I wish would have been given more time. The affair with his cousin sparked quite an interest but he spent more time defending it and explaining it was socially acceptable at the time than sharing what actually happened. His secretary, who unlike other characters he interacted with, never spoke, but instead was an audience member he addressed, caused some concern. It began as flirting, but by the end left me wondering if they had an affair or he sexually harassed her because it was more socially acceptable at the time.
What filled most of the ninety-minute production was the 15 year struggle of perfecting, proving and publishing his theory. Obviously this is massively important to the story, but my ability to understand it is limited, and even with the projected diagrams and photos I found it was a struggle to stay connected to the man I was trying to understand. Another facet of the story I would have liked to see more of was his persecution as a Jew. It was only mentioned once as a comment another scientist made at a debate but Einstein’s feelings on the matter were never revealed. His opinions on religion were mentioned briefly but the discrimination he faced was not explored. This to me is subject matter that would shine more insight into the complexities of Einstein, so I was disappointed it was not explored further.
Ultimately this show had strong moments but I left the theatre overwhelmed with so much information I didn’t know what to do with it. I feel as though I learned less about Einstein and more about how little I understand the complexities of his theories. Perhaps this show would fare better with a more scientific mind.
Upcoming shows (Venue 4- Studio Léonard_Beaulne)
Wednesday, 25 @ 18:30
Friday, 27 @ 17:30
Saturday, 28 @ 19:30