Reinventing Tesla @ Pico Playhouse

tesla1Reinventing Tesla is the first-person account of the life of the inventor and engineer who contributed so greatly to the fields of electricity and magnetism. Nikola Tesla’s tireless theoretical and pratical work formed the basis for modern alternating current power systems, as well as wireless communication used in radio.

In this one-man show,  actor Frank Tabbita gives an intriguing portrayal of the passionate, eccentric genius, who is responsible for far more of our current day electronic world than most people know. The stage is minimally dressed with old fashioned trunks and a lamp used to set the scene. Some multimedia assists in illustrating the narrative. Since it’s mentioned in the program, I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that there is a  functioning Tesla Coil at one point. I won’t say how it arrives on stage and exactly what it does.

This is the first play I’ve attended at Pico Playhouse, a cozy 99-seat theater. You can’t beat the intimacy of such a small space, where you really feel like you are part of the production. I thoroughly enjoyed the show and learned a lot about Tesla’s amazing accomplishments and the many obstacles he encountered along the way. Check it out if you dig science or just want to learn more about this  fascinating character.

I was struck by the relevance of a quote of Tesla’s from 1900 to one of our modern day dilemmas: “… If we use fuel to get our power, we are living on our capital and exhausting it rapidly. This method is barbarous and wantonly wasteful and will have to be stopped in the interests of coming generations…”

Reinventing Tesla is on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 8pm through March 1st. Running time is 1 hour and 30 minutes with a 10-minute intermission. Tickets can be purchased online or at the door for $25.

Pico Playhouse is located at 10508 W. Pico Blvd located near Fox Studios and the Westside Pavilion Mall.