Albert Einstein: Relatively Speaking.
Part Two of John Hinton’s Scientrilogy. The Arch. John Hinton, Tagram Theatre andHolden Streeet Theatres. Adelaide Fringe. March 7-18 2018
Reviewed by Peter Wilkins
|John Hinton and Jo Eagle in JAlbert: Relatively Speaking|
After seeing That Daring Girl the night before and John Hinton’s second part of his Scientrilogy today, I am more than ever convinced that actors have a crucial role to play in schools by providing entertaining and high calibre theatre performances that inspire2, inform and excite students. Actor, John Hinton in Part two of his Scientrilogy takes on the role of Albert Einstein to introduce audiences, young and old alike, to the qualities of his theories of special and general relativity, the effect of gravity on time and motion and the definition of his famous equation E=MC2.
With boundless energy and playful excitement, Hinton selects a girl and a boy from the audience to demonstrate his theories of time, motion and the speed of light. Assisted at the keyboard by Jo Eagle in the various roles of his second wife, Elsa, his first wife Maleva and his mother Paulina, Hinton keeps his audience entertained with song, demonstration and audience participation. As the show unfolds e learn about Einstein’s contribution to a theoretical understanding of the laws of physics. The show moves along at a frenetic pace, and for this reviewer, it seemed as though we were moving at the speed of light while Time was standing still. For the science students in the audience, Hinton’s theatrical ingenuity in exposing the nature of Einstein’s genius illuminated their classroom dryness and brought the complexities of Einstein’s theories to life. Through song, demonstration, audience participation and puppetry, Hinton opened a window of realization. Hip hop and a repetitive E=MC2 hand routine reinforced the understanding and knowledge for the audience, although this reviewer found the performance a little too frenetic to consolidate the knowledge. But then, I was no longer in a school. For the students present Hinton’s performance was received with appreciative laughter,often at the expense of their volunteer fellow students or teachers
What resonated most powerfully with me was Hinton’s shift in tempo as he set aside his props of instruction, such as a rope to suggest gravity, a vacuum cleaner to represent a vacuum and a sheet to indicate the curvature of space around a Black Hole. It is impossible for any performance about Einstein to avoid the great moral dilemma of the theory’s impact on the construction of the Atom Bomb. His struggle is palpable and his rationalization that someone else would have created it with more evil intent offers small comfort. It is the potential dilemma that any scientist might face, and one that the students in the audience should debate,
Fast forward in a shower of talcum powder to 1955, the year of Einstein’s death and a conversation with his preserved brain. Hinton not only sings, dances and performs with enthusiastic elan. He also proves himself to be a deft hand puppeteer. With his dying breath he reveals the true secret of his genius – hat it is not the brain that holds the secret but the instinct to question why.
With the demise of theatre-in-education teams across the country, it is refreshing to find an actor who not only relishes the discovery of material to present to school students and general public audiences but performs it with such a sense of mission and fun. I am not able to see his shows about Charles Darwin and Marie Curie, but judging by the response to Relatively Speaking, John Hinton’s Scientrilogy is another hit Fringe production at Holden Street Theatres