Review: EINSTEIN'S WIFE at ExPats Theatre

Do not miss the theatrical power in ExPats Theatre’s production of Einstein’s Wife.

By: Oct. 03, 2022
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Review: EINSTEIN'S WIFE at ExPats Theatre
L-R Sasha Olinick and Cecelia Auerswald
​​​​​​in ExPats Theatre's production of Einstein's Wife.
Photo by Patrick Gallagher Landes.

A dramatic and ruminative journey through the personal history of two famous figures, Albert Einstein, and his wife Mileva Marić, takes place in an afterlife limbo in Einstein's Wife. This intriguing play will be welcome by anyone who is interested in the interpersonal battles of Einstein and his first wife, who was a brilliant scientist in her own right.

The author of this very incisive play, Snezana Gnjidić, was inspired by Milan Popovic's book entitled In Albert's Shadow: The Life and Letters of Mileva Marić (this book was given to Gnjidić by her friend Milena Garfield---Together with Ms. Garfield, it was decided to make a story of Mileva's life and work.). Milena Trobozić-Garfield provided the fine translation for this play.

Directed with a keen sense of control by Karin Rosnizeck, this superior play by Ex-Pats Theatre runs a tight but compelling eighty-five minutes and the surging intellectual and emotional energy of the play never lets up. The pregnancy, illnesses, recriminations and fights of Albert and Mileva kept me totally absorbed and enthralled. Director Rosnizeck directs with a strong sense of impassioned fervor but, concurrently, directs the more reflective scenes with a sense of appropriate restraint when needed.

Obviously, the fact that Mileva had to raise children and keep up a home during the strain of motherhood was a factor that kept her from as large a fame as Albert---Mileva was treated unfairly as she had worked very hard to become an accomplished physicist and mathematician and she had collaborated with Albert on his research. The play shows the harsh reality of this injustice. Even the title of this probing play-- Einstein's Wife portrays the wretched way that Mileva was treated.

Sasha Olinick as Albert Einstein delivers a very cerebral interpretation coupled with a rumpled demeanor. The lines he is given are sublime (so we must thank playwright Gnjidić). For example: "The Stars do not just hang in the sky. They are moving with you and I." Einstein's character also says: "When God makes up his mind, he doesn't change it under any circumstances."

Cecelia Auerswald as Mileva Marić portrays a woman of intense complexity as she is faithful to Albert in every way yet highly independent and intellectually vigorous. Ms. Auerswald never makes the mistake of playing her role in a conventional manner. Ms. Auerswald beautifully imbues her character with independence and strength of character under stress.

Like a mental game of ping-pong, the two characters have a battle of back-and-forth wits as numerous recriminations and reproaches fly in this drama of past events. Scientific discussions are integrated well such as the theory of relativity and the theory of quantum mechanics. There is, also, a sense of the hard to define sense of time rushing by as time flashes onwards like the ticking of the clocks on the inventive video projections by Dylan Uremovich.

Mr. Uremovich's stunning projections show snow falling during the pains of childbirth. Intricate scientific designs were showed as well. A very moving choice was having the visual projection of grass slowly turning into the grass a museumgoer would see -- as envisioned in a painting by the artist Vincent Van Gogh.

Sound Design by Vladimir Petričević is very attuned to the emotional undercurrents of the play.

Scenic Design by David Higgins is so perfectly calibrated ---Mr. Higgins spare set is nicely highlighted with a structure (on stage left) that revolves and shows the various scenes from the intimate lives of the characters.

Costumes by Alissa Mandel are very appropriate to the period portrayed.

Lighting by Hailey LaRoe is beautifully handled.

Intimacy choreographer Ian Claar handles the proceedings with theatrical sensitivity.

So much has been written about Albert Einstein that it is refreshing and much needed to see this absorbing play about the brilliant scientist Mileva Marić.

Do not miss the theatrical power in ExPats Theatre's production of Einstein's Wife.

Running Time: Eighty-five minutes with no intermission

Einstein's Wife presented by ExPats Theatre runs through October 16, 2022 at the Atlas Performing Arts Center located at 1333 H Street NE, Washington, DC, 20002.


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