Its science to nurture your inner nerd. It has a message…its ok to be curious, its ok to ask why, its OK to be different. All the issues every kid struggles with to be “popular” and be themselves at the same time is explored in this high energy production that opened at the Sierra Madre Playhouse this weekend. Think of it as Energy, the good kind like a colorful Saturday morning exploding on stage (and off at times) with the angst of a kid who doesn’t fit in and wants to.
Einstein is a Dummy is written by Karen Zacarias and brilliantly presented under the direction of Derek Manson for the Sierra Madre Playhouse. Add in the musical score by Deborah Wicks LaPuma and you’ve got a show that kids will enjoy while picking up some lessons on personal identity and real science.
This is repertory theatre. The play has two cast so as to stage it for evening performances as well as matinee’s for schools here in the SGV. (This play is aimed at the 3rd-8th grade student). Regardless of which cast you see, you will have fun with your young genius. I saw the Electron cast, those that have seen the Proton cast were equally amazed at the production.
The play starts with young Einstein talk with a stray cat in advance of leaving for a music recital. Here we get the first hint at his curiosity and the gift of a compass that started him thinking about and developing his theory of relativity. Its this first bit where we learn that Einstein sees and hears the world differently.
More importantly this stray cat isn’t just a pest. It’s the mentor only Einstein can hear. That damn cat is as curious about things as young Einstein and actually tells him its ok to ask “Why”.
At the recital he is berated by the head master Herr Schloppnoppdinkerdonn (and this is the only time I’ll type that one out) for being late, always questioning things and just being a dummy. His Arch Enemy Constantin joins in the berating fun until his energies are devoted to wooing fellow student Elsa. Elsa is actually as enamored with Einstein as he is with her. They stumble towards a mutual ground and agree to try play his “music” instead of the planned boring piece. They conspire and trick Constantin to join them and there we learn E=MC squared and see it come to life on stage.
This play would not have had the impact it had if it weren’t for the music and video elements of the play. They added to the energy and excitement of the production. It was ambitous and they really pulled it off. Hat tip to Video Designer Sean T. Cawelti for his work with Sound Designer, Jeff Gardner in making this play a complete piece with the energy level to keep you enveloped and enthralled with the production.
Deets: Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 W Sierra Madre Blvd, Sierra Madre Blvd 91024 MAP HERE
All photographs used here were done by John Dlugolecki Photography for Sierra Madre Playhouse and used with their permission.