A World Premiere.
By Mark St. Germain.
Directed by BJ Jones.
At Northlight Theatre, Skokie.
“Logic will get you from
A to B. Imagination will
take you everywhere.”
A vintage acting performance by the ageless Mike Nussbaum fuels drama about Albert Einstein.
Who else is there in Chicago to play Albert Einstein other than Mike Nussbaum? Even at age 94, Nussbaum is still as sharp as anyone playing on stage! His performance as Einstein (circa 1949) is fine material for Nussbaum, whose German accent is genuine and his humor and intensity presents the genius scientist marvellously. Seeing Mike Nussbaum should be required for anyone who desires to act on stage!
In Mark St. Germain’s interesting drama, we meet Einstein at Princeton in 1949 (Einstein is 70 years old). He lives with his secretary/housekeeper Helen Dukas (Ann Whitney), a fellow German immigrant. The professor is being interviewed by Margaret Harding, a middle-aged determined journalist bent on getting a story from the famed genius.
At she bonds with Einstein, Harding segways from Einstein’s work to his personal life. She speaks about a child he had in 1902 who was never spoken again after 1904. Here playwright St. Germain fictionalizes about what happened to the baby and what Harding’s connection is to that happening. Einstein’s reaction to that baby, now a grown women, and to that women’s child, a genius savant makes for a compelling story.
This 70 minute one-act “what if” play is interesting as a glimpse into the personality of Einstein, his humor, foibles, and eceentries that are honestly presented by Nussbaum. As Katherine Keberlein, the reporter Margaret Harding, eventually turns from interviewing to revealing her connection to Einstein the story moves to another level of drama, Relativity becomes fascinating. This play gives glimpses as to is Einstein actually a good person or only a famos man?
My only complaint about this production lies in the sound quality. With the extremely high ceiling at Northlight Theatre, sound vanishes into the rafters so that actors must speak louder to be amplified. Sitting in the last few rows, I found it difficult to hear when the actors spoke softly. Also, when they, especially Ann Whitney mumbled in her thick German accent, she became unintelligible. Amplificationicarticulation atriculation would serve the production.
But, Relatively is an engrossing drama with excellent performances by three “A” list actors presenting a fine script. Witnessing legendary actors like Mike Nussbaum and Ann Whitney is priceless. Katherine Keberlein holds her own in a terrific performance here.
Date Reviewed: May 20, 2017.
For more info check out the Relativity page at theatreinchicago.com.
At Northlight Theatre, 9501 N. Skokie Blvd, Skokie, IL, call 947-673-6300, www.northlight.org, tickets $30 – $81, Wednesdays at 1 & 7:30 pm, Thursdays at 7:30 pm, Fridays at 8 pm, Saturdays at 2:30 & 8 pm, Sundays at 2:30 & 7 pm, running time is 70 minutes without intermission, through June 25, 2017.