The Einstein Project

The Einstein Project is a highly theatrical journey into one of the most fascinating minds of the modern age.  It rejects iconic clichés about Albert Einstein in order to reveal the true man —a dynamic, Shakespearean personality, driven by passion, fear and anger.

Play title: The Einstein Project

Author (s): Paul D’Andrea and Jon Klien

Publisher: Dramatists Play Service

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Synopsis of Play: The Einstein Project is a highly theatrical journey into one of the most fascinating minds of the modern age.  It rejects iconic clichés about Albert Einstein in order to reveal the true man —a dynamic, Shakespearean personality, driven by passion, fear and anger.  Theatrical techniques involving movement, music, and visual images —a Japanese tea ceremony, a picnic with a physicist ghost — convey his mental and emotional struggles.  Humorous “newsreels” flicker to show growing celebrity and absurdity of the Einstein “phenomenon.”  In the happy early days Einstein creates physics on the spot with members of the Uranium Club and spends his free time sailing with his emotionally disturbed son, Edward.  But he increasingly finds himself at odds with the new Nationalism of Hitler’s Nazi Party —especially when embodied by his chief competition, the brash young genius Werner Heisenberg.  Einstein’s fear and fury result the abandonment of Edward — and an escape to America.  In the second act, and the height of World War II, Einstein wonders if his old friends are developing atomic weapons for Hitler.  Ironically, it is possible that Heisenberg and the other German scientists have successfully resisted such weapons research and trust that Einstein will do the same.  But the U.S. Government and ominous rumors from Europe feed Einstein’s fear until he breaks down and urges President Franklin Roosevelt to develop atomic weapons for the use against Germany.  As a result, one of the most famous pacifists of all time is forced to go counter his own beliefs.  And to Einstein’s horror, atomic bombs are dropped on a country he didn’t even consider —Japan.  The climax of the play finds Einstein reunited with his mad son, Edward, trying to sail in the atomic storm that he helped unleash.  His discovered love for Edward gives him hope that we can stop the storm.

(Play Text Blurb Cover, Dramatists Play Service)

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Performance History: The Einstein project was originally produced by the Illusion Theatre (Michael Robins and Bonnie Morris Producing Directors) in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in January 1987.  It was directed by Steven Dietz, the set design was by Dean Holtzman; the choreography was by Diane Elliot; the lighting design was by Michael M Murnane; the sound design was by Kim D. Sherman; the costume design was by Janet Groenert and Sonya Berlovitz; and the production stage manager was Peter Kehrli.

The Einstein Project was produced by Theatre of the First Amendment (Thomas Dunn, Artistic director, Richard S. Davis, Producing Artistic Director, and Paul D’Andrea, Associate Director) in Fairfax, Virginia, in January 1992.  It was directed by Steven Dietz; the set design was by James Kronzer; the lighting design was by David R. Zemmels; the original musical score was composed, directed and performed by Kim D. Sherman; the sound design was by Jens McVoy; the costume design was by Del Risberg; the production manager was Kevin Murray; and the production stage manager was Jacqueline Donaldson.

The Einstein Project was produced by the Berkshire Theater Festival (Kate Maguire, Producing Director) in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, in August 2000.  It was co-directed by Oliver Butler and Eric Hill; the set design was by Steven K. Mitchell; the choreography was by Isadora Wolfe; the lighting design was by Melissa Mclearen; the sound design was by Jason A. Tratta; the costume design was by Moira Shaughnessy; the production dramaturg was Daniel Bourque; and the production stage manager was Jessica Velez

An earlier production version of The Einstein Project was produced by the Illusion Theater (Michael Robins and Bonnie Morris, Producing Directors) at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in June 1985.  It was directed by David Feldshuh and Kim D. Sherman composed the music.

The Einstein Project was developed at the Sundance Institute (David Kranes, Artistic Director) in Provo, Utah, in July 1986.

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Entered by: Denise Gillman / Brooke Sanders

Brandy Caldwell and Tommy Schrider in Berkshire Theatre Festival’s 2009 Main Stage Production of The Einstein Project by Paul D’Andrea and Jon Klein. Directed by Eric Hill. Photo by Jaime Davidson.
Miranda Hope Shea and Tommy Schrider in Berkshire Theatre Festival’s 2009 Main Stage Production of The Einstein Project by Paul D’Andrea and Jon Klein. Directed by Eric Hill. Photo by Jaime Davidson.
Kyle Fable, Walter Hudson, James Barry and C.J. Wilson in Berkshire Theatre Festival’s 2009 Main Stage Production of The Einstein Project by Paul D’Andrea and Jon Klein. Directed by Eric Hill. Photo by Jaime Davidson.
Tommy Schrider in Berkshire Theatre Festival’s 2009 Main Stage Production of The Einstein Project by Paul D’Andrea and Jon Klein. Directed by Eric Hill. Photo by Jaime Davidson.
Kyle Fable, C.J. Wilson, Tommy Schrider, Brandy Caldwell and David Chandler in Berkshire Theatre Festival’s 2009 Main Stage Production of The Einstein Project by Paul D’Andrea and Jon Klein. Directed by Eric Hill. Photo by Jaime Davidson.
Tommy Schrider with BTF apprentices in Berkshire Theatre Festival’s 2009 Main Stage Production of The Einstein Project by Paul D’Andrea and Jon Klein. Directed by Eric Hill. Photo by Jaime Davidson.
BTF apprentices, Jesse Hinson and James Barry in Berkshire Theatre Festival’s 2009 Main Stage Production of The Einstein Project by Paul D’Andrea and Jon Klein. Directed by Eric Hill. Photo by Jaime Davidson.
Kyle Fable, C.J. Wilson, Walter Hudson, James Barry, David Chandler and Brandy Caldwell in Berkshire Theatre Festival’s 2009 Main Stage Production of The Einstein Project by Paul D’Andrea and Jon Klein. Directed by Eric Hill. Photo by Jaime Davidson.
Tommy Schrider and James Barry in Berkshire Theatre Festival’s 2009 Main Stage Production of The Einstein Project by Paul D’Andrea and Jon Klein. Directed by Eric Hill. Photo by Jaime Davidson.

 

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