Play Description

Set in his study at the Princeton University on his 70th birthday, Einstein takes a witty and often sardonic look at his life and work. He reflects back not only as Einstein the scientist, but as Einstein the man. From the opening moments he captures the hearts of the audience by engaging them in humorous and simple experiments to explain the Theory of Relativity. Having gained their trust, he then sweeps his audience into his conflict-filled history, from his childhood, having to overcome the belief of others that he was mentally retarded, to the rise of Fascism forcing him, a Jew, to leave his native Germany. He tells them of his obsession with his work and how it destroyed his family. These dramatic and often powerful moments are countered with Albert Einstein's self-deprecating humour.

Einstein the play is much more than a series of comic and tragic vignettes, as the author subtly and carefully ties scenes together with and underlying dramatic premise. Throughout, playwright Emanuel gives the audience only glimpses of Einstein's major conflict, and successfully builds their anticipation to the very end when he finally reveals the great man's most painful dilemma... the decision to go against his pacifist beliefs and encourage the development of the atomic bomb.

Reviews

"enfolds the audience in a great-grandfatherly embrace"

- The Globe and Mail, Toronto

"beautifully underplayed; Christopher Britton becomes the 'Father of Relativity'. The result is a portrait of a complicated yet consistent man and a unique opportunity for a talented actor. Thanks to Britton's tour de force performance Einstein proves itself a spirited yet thoughtful tribute to the seminal mind."
- The Newton Graphic, Boston

"An engaging portrait of the man, laced with humour"
- The Toronto Star

"Britton gives a flowing, flawless performance as Einstein, Emanuel weaves together his joys and conflicts, capturing the gentle, modest, sometimes eccentric disposition of the venerable professor."
- Canadian Jewish News

"Christopher Britton makes the one-man show a delightfully sensitive actor-to-audience experience... a most entertaining production."
- The Hamilton Journal

"Mr. Britton quickly convinces us that he is the 70 year old Albert Einstein. Author Gabriel Emanuel gives us warm glimpses of Einstein the simple man, slightly forgetful, very kind, with a wry humour and in the end, feeling desperately guilty over the very human sins of neglect of his family because of his dedication to his work."
- The Telegram

"Witty and warm portrayal of a man who followed his creative passion to the end."
- The Tab, Boston

"Einstein gave insight into the emotional life and motivation behind a great 20th century scientific mind... an evening of meaningful theatre."
- Evening Times-Globe

Production History

Einstein the play, premiered in Toronto on March 21, 1986. There have been over 500 performances of the highly successful play across Canada, in almost every province. In the United States engagements included Louisville, KY. and four weeks at the Jewish Theater of New England in Boston.

Einstein has been translated into Hebrew and Spanish. It premiered at the Habina National Theatre of Israel and toured more than 100 performances. (This is the only play about Einstein to receive the sanction of the Albert Einstein Institute in Israel). Recently it opened in Mexico City and played over 100 performances.

With its simple, single set and one actor, Einstein has been a critical and financial success wherever it performed, in theaters seating 150 or close to 1000.

Audiences everywhere know the name Albert Einstein, and are fascinated and excited to learn more about the heart and soul of this great mind of the 20th century.