EINSTEIN COMES THROUGH at North Coast Rep is a frenetic, if confusing, and bittersweet one-man show streaming through May 23rd.
The show written by David Ellenstein and Marc Silver stars Jake Broder as Hank and at other times Einstein. At an hour, the pacing jumps right into the show, with a disheveled Hank clutching a notebook as an alarm goes off around him.
Hank is a seemingly normal man, with a wife and son, a messy apartment – but on the other hand, his apartment is filled with multiple alarms, he seems to zone out a lot, and talks to a giant poster of Einstein. Every time an alarm goes off he makes a note in a notebook on his experiment of “fading into the universe.’ So I guess the definition of normal here is up for debate.
When Hank “fades” that is when Einstein appears. Chatty, and with ambitions of being a stand-up comedian, Einstein has a lot of opinions on Hank’slife and how he’s living it.
Broder delivers on the manic energy, and the character quick changes required to keep the show moving. He zips through topics from marriage to mathematics, the curiosity of kids to comedy; it’s a lot in a short time.
The small apartment set by Marty Burnett reflects the character’s state of mind, some chaos in an apartment whose walls are fading between two realms, Of course, Einstein features prominently in a giant poster above the couch. The wig design for Einstein by Peter Herman is great and works well with the costumes by Elisa Benzoni for the character.
Ultimately, for as strong as Broder is, the show offers too little for the audience to sink their teeth into to really care about Hank, these alarms, or his experiment. The reveal of what has motivated all of this comes too late in the show for it to feel balanced or worth this strange journey.
Is he conducting an actual scientific experiment? Is he having a psychiatric break? Does it matter as long as he (and the audience) learn a lesson along the way? Well, you could say that’s all relative
EINSTEIN COMES THROUGH is streaming through May 23rd at North Coast Rep. tickets can be purchased at www.northcoastrep.org
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EINSTEIN COMES THROUGH
By MARC SILVER and David Ellenstein
Directed by David Ellenstein
HANK . . .Jake Broder
STAGE MANAGER/CINEMATOGRAPHER/EDITOR . . . Aaron Rumley
SET DESIGN . . . Marty Burnett
COSTUME DESIGN . . . .Elisa Benzoni
PROPS . . . Phillip Korth
WIG . . . Peter Herman
Photo Credit: Aaron Rumley