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Einstein is a Dummy

a Family Play with Music
CATEGORY :
by Karen Zacarias

COMPANY : Alliance Theatre Company [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Woodruff Art Center [WEBSITE]
ID# 1428

SHOWING : November 05, 2005 - November 20, 2005

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

It's the worse day in Albert Einstein's Life, as he has to deal with a Violin Concert, A Mean Bully, A Talking Cat, and the Most Beautiful Girl in the World.


CAST & CREW LIST
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REVIEWS

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Smart Fabulous Show for the entire Family is extended for good reason!
by RickS
Saturday, November 19, 2005
5.0
We just took 4 children, ages 4-13 (3 of my kids and their friend) to see The Alliance's show "Einstein is a Dummy" and all of us loved it. Too often children's theater speaks down to children, but I found this energetic production elevating. The smart script has lots of levels, and really focuses on the wonderment of curiousity and the obstacles that creative, inquisitive, restless children encounter in school and the world. The music is very catchy (My kids all sang "molecular heat" on the way home". While my youngest daughter loved the cat, the older children caught on that he was a metaphor for creative thinking, and they loved the love story. The science is very tongue in cheek, and entertaining to the adults (I laughed more than I care to admit).

Three things that have happened since we saw the show: I asked why my 8 year old son's room was so messy ...and he answered "Entropy" (learned that in the show!
He and his dad spent some time on the internet, because he wanted to learn about space (this is a first).

But the best thing today, is that my quiet (somewhat moody) 13 year old son told me that he feels very much the way Albert is portrayed in the play.

I am glad the show has been extended twice. There's a reason. I've never been a repeat ticket theater buyer, but I think we will try to come back before it closes.
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Thanks by Dedalus
Sometimes I feel a little guilty when I post a negative review here. Usually, I really want someone to say I'm full of crap, just to give everyone a balanced perspective. In your case, you made some very strong observations, and gave a well-written and well-supported perspective -- I didn't have the opportunity to take my daughter to this show, but your family's reactions make me regret that.

Of course, I stand by my own opinion (for now), but your positive response makes me question why I reacted the way I did, and makes me appreciate how theatre is a living and breathing creature, giving everyone a different experience that speaks (or fails to speak) to their own lives and experiences.

Thanks again, and I hope to see more of your work on this site.

Brad
Dummy Dummy Dummy
by Dedalus
Monday, November 14, 2005
2.0
“Einstein is a Dummy,” currently on view on Alliance’s Hertz Stage, seems to be a Children’s Play written by someone who has never met (or never been) a child.

Allegedly a play showing how even a famously smart person grew up with all the same problems and worries that plague all kids, “Einstein,” is seemingly aimed at an age group that probably never heard of Einstein, and probably never even heard of physics. Yes, kids will respond to a song about the wonders of knowledge and the mysteries of life, but what will they make of all the references to Relativity, and a Rap Song praising E=MC˛? Yes, kids will respond to the energetic singing and dancing by actors in contemporary costumes, but what will they make of the dull music and the even duller dialog scenes (I sat in a position where I could see much of the audience, and most of the kids sat there blank-faced and nodding off). Yes, kids will respond to the talking cat (nicely played by Jahi Kearse), but what will they make of the box marked “Shrodinger” that drops on him?

The whole affair comes across as if it had been written by a Physics Geek who thought Age five is a good time to start learning about Quantum Physics. This may have worked for youngsters just learning about science and the world around (say, the 10-13 year-old set). But they’d be turned off by the Talking Cat, the bright colors, a character named “Her Schloppnoppdinkerdonn,” and all the stuff aimed at younger kids.

Director Rosemary Newcott and her young and energetic cast do what they can – they obviously know what kids like and respond to. There is even one wonderful scene that transcends all the dummy-ness surrounding it – a tender scene between Einstein and Elsa that strikes every note right in its depiction of first love. But, again, it’s a scene that 12-year old would respond to more than a younger person.

1905 was Einstein’s “miracle year,” in which he published four papers that put forth ideas that affected forever how we look at the Universe. 2005 may go down as the year in which Atlanta saw a production of what has to be one of the dummy-est ideas for a play ever.

-- Brad Rudy (BKRudy@aol.com)
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