Tuesday October 17th 2017

“Relativity”

Highly Recommended ***** Albert Einstein was noted for his brilliance, and yet, few know a great deal about his personal life. In Mark St. Germain’s “Relativity” now having its World Premiere on the stage at Northlight Theatre, we are taken back in history, deep into the past that was his.  Even if you are not into math, equations or science, I am suggesting you find a way to visit The Northlight Theatre in Skokie for this production. Directed by Artistic Director BJ Jones and playing  Chicago favorite Mike Nussbaum (there could be none better in this role). This is a “Must See” production which I am sure will have a few Jeff Award nominations.

Set on the campus of Princeton University in 1949 ( an amazing set by Jack Magaw) Einstein is confronted by a young woman, Margaret Harding, who claims to be doing an in-depth piece on him. He invites her back to his home and office where they begin to talk about what she has discovered so far. As they talk, she reveals that she is aware of a child that he and his wife Mileva had in 1902, a little girl, and that two years later all records and knowledge of her disappeared. What might have happened to this little girl? Can the great mind of Albert Einstein fill in the missing piece to this puzzle?

I am not one to give away any part of the story that will have an impact on the enjoyment of the theater-goer, so I will tread lightly here. As the “genius” and the “reporter” keep talking, we learn many of the secrets of his family and his personal life. While she questions him about his theory of relativity in comparison to quantum theories and life decisions that Einstein chose, she brings up another query, “To be a  great man, does one first need to be a good man”? What we learn in this amazing 100 minutes of theater (no intermission) well acted by these two fine performers, along with the character of Helen Dukas ( Ann Whitney ,as delightful as always)  his “housekeeper/paramour?” is somewhat shocking, but we must consider the times. This was over 100 years ago. Lives were different and often things happened that were unexplained. Again, I do not want to give away the story ( and hope others do not either), but will tell you that a major bit of history comes out and we get to see the brilliant Albert Einstein as more than the genius that we know him as. We learn about his parenting, his love life, his grandparenting and the elements in his life that may have molded his creativity in his field.

In addition to the set design by Magaw, the other tech elements of this sterling production are the lighting (JR Lederle), costumes (Rachel Laritz), sound (Andrew Hansen) and amazing projections( Stephan Mazurek). Northlight is always an open stage production and the over-all appearance is for the most part, the best in Chicago. The properties are also an important part of this particular production, so hats off to Lydia Hanchett. This is powerful theater, and something that even non-theater people, also known as scientists and mathematicians might enjoy (and then may become theater patrons). Bring tissue as there is a very touching and moving ending. Makes it all so real!

“Relativity” will continue thru June 18th at Northlight Theatre located at 9501 Skokie Blvd. in Skokie (just South of Golf Road/Old Orchard Center) with performances as follows:

Wednesdays  1 p.m. and  7:30 p.m.

Thursdays  7:30 p.m.

Fridays  8 p.m.

Saturdays  2:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Sundays  2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Tickets range in price from $30-$81 and students at $15 (subject to availability)

they can be ordered by calling 847-673-6300 or online at www.northlight.org

Special events:

June 1st at 2 p.m. at Skokie Library

5215 West Oakton Street

a one hour discussion (FREE OF CHARGE) exploring the historical and literary context of “Relativity” with the theater company “partners”.

Plenty of free parking-

To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-Up and click at “Relativity”.

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