Thursday, October 5, 2017

'Relativity' Presents a Thought-Provoking "What if" Story About Albert Einstein

Review of the play "Relativity" at Taproot Theatre.
Dennis Bateman & Candace Vance in Relativity at Taproot Theatre. (Photo by Erik Stuhaug)

THEATRE REVIEW

Mark St. Germain’s play, Relativity brings a unique theatrical experience to Taproot Theatre about the life of Albert Einstein with themes of public vs. private, genius vs. eccentric and good vs. great. Though “relatively” short, this play tackles a lot of ground that is sometimes comedic, sometimes heartbreaking but wholly thought-provoking.

Based on real history events based of the life of Einstein, Relativity is actually a fictional tale of “what if.” History books share information about Einstein’s two sons and one daughter who was born in 1902. However, there is no mention of her after 1904 leaving many to speculate what happened to the girl. Did she die? Was she given up for adoption?

Relativity takes place during an interview with the professor in his home in 1949. Dennis Bateman plays Einstein wild hair and all. And quite believably too. Though famous, Einstein is rather reclusive separating his public life from his private life. His live-in maid, Miss Dukas (Pam Nolte) serves as a watchdog keeping out unwanted guests. However, she meets her match when Margaret Harding (Candace Vance) arrives home with the professor one afternoon in December. Harding is a reporter for the Jewish Daily who has been turned away from Miss Dukas twice in the past. Undeterred, Harding gets Einstein’s attention on the campus of Princeton University and follows him home. The conversation begins rather cordial but soon becomes more intense as Harding pushes for answers on whatever happened to Albert’s daughter which later turns into a debate on whether or not Einstein, considered by many to be a “great” man, could be considered a “good” man as well.

This is Bateman’s debut performance at Taproot having performed at the 5th Avenue and Village Theatre as well as many episodes of the radio drama show, Imagination Theater. He’s a fantastic addition. Vance on the other hand has performed in many Taproot productions and is a favorite of many. The two spare back and forth well. And though this is manly a two person play, Nolte does get a few choice moments as well. The play is directed by Pam’s husband and co-founder of Taproot Theatre, Scott Nolte with a set design by Mark Lund that compliments Einstein’s character very well.

Relativity plays through October 21, 2017 (but don’t be surprised if it gets held over) at Taproot Theatre’s Jewel Mainstage Theatre located at 204 N 85th St. in Seattle, 98103. Performances are held at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays, 8:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and special matinee performances are also presented on Saturdays at 2:00 p.m. Tickets range from $27-$47 depending on the performance and can be purchased online or by calling (206) 781-9707. Taproot offers a $5 senior/student discount off of regularly priced tickets. This play has a age recommendation of 12 and up.