Feature by Mavis Manus

Jack Fry, whose previous solo play, They Call Me Mister Fry, was a hit at the 2013 Hollywood Fringe Festival, returns to L.A. with his latest monologue, Einstein. Fry, a writer as well as a performer, has created an Albert Einstein we haven’t seen on stage before. Gone is the stereotypical image we have of the renowned physicist––frizzy-haired, wise-cracking, Chaplinesque. In his place, Fry gives us a 35-year-old Einstein––vigorous, driven and tormented.

The play is set in 1914 Berlin, where Einstein had arrived to take up a position at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Theoretical Physics. It was here, at this very Prussian organization, that he refined his revolutionary ideas on space, time, energy and matter. Eight years later, he was awarded a Nobel Prize for his relativity theories, but that achievement came at great personal cost. Many of his colleagues at the Institute were virulently reactionary and anti-Semitic and tried their best to undermine his career and impugn his ideas (and leftwing politics). Einstein’s battle against his enemies was a long and bitter one, but as Fry shows so vividly, Einstein refused to be cowed by their threats and insults and eventually won out over them.

Einstein’s personal life was just as stormy. Married young to Mileva Maric, a woman he no longer loved, Einstein had left her and their two children behind in Zurich when he emigrated to Berlin. His failed marriage weighed heavily on him, but that didn’t stop him from taking up with his cousin, Elsa Lowenthal (who had two children of her own). Although he eventually made Elsa his wife, it could not be said that they had a happy marriage. With women, Einstein could be tender and loving but also cold and cruel.

Fry brings the many sides of Albert Einstein to life in his riveting solo show, painting an honest but deeply human and touching portrait of one of the greatest men in human history.

(Lounge 1 Theater, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood. 310-927-4536)

Jack Fry. Alexandra Kovacs (voice)
Set: Todd Swansey and Amanda Bird; Vocal Coach: Peggy O’Neal; Technical Dir: John Toom