Ever wondered how it would be to live the life of a great physicist in the era of the 1900s? Well, not all of us can do that, and the ones who are not under the influence of science as a study, would not even think about it in their dreams. Yet, quite often we meet people who do make the impossible possible. Amongst my latest watched plays, I found out that there’s a man in this era, who can portray what it is to be in the era of Einstein. Yes, I am talking about Motley’s Einstein, an English Play by Gabriel Emanuel, acted as well as directed by Padma Shri & Padma Bhushan Naseeruddin Shah.
The loud applaud that concluded the play, is where I begin to tell this story. I’ve been to a few plays in Dubai, for most of them, I felt the audience is meager both in numbers as well as the amount of money and time they spend for plays. Usually, applause is what one could listen for a few minutes; last few seconds of this cheer are just echoing caused by the empty seats. Then I tell myself, Dubai’s crowd is not one of those Prithvi Theatre or NCPA fanatic types, or DUCTAC just needs to add an awesome café to it.
But what was unique to this play was this loud applaud, rather a standing ovation of more than 5 minutes from a crowd-filled auditorium. The crowd was extraordinary too, international as we like to call it. This can be attributed to the language of the play, the global lingua franca – English or maybe it was just about Mr. Naseeruddin Shah, I would like to go with the latter one & so shall you.
I have not much to narrate about the story as it can be described in very few words, it is a biography in short of the great physicist Einstein, his hardships from school age till his death, his difficulties & meticulousness to manage work, family, war and ethics. And as soon as the curtain opens, Einstein comes alive. I’ll share here a few moments from the play that are retained in my head for a lifetime.
While my brain was trying to send a signal to your eyes, that the man on stage is not Einstein himself, yet in his German accent, seated in a study, very easily Einstein starts to explain the hefty theory of relativity abridged into wisdom tidbits.
A blackboard in the backdrop reminds me of the school days and I wonder, Physics was never this easy to understand in my childhood as this play made it.
He explains with amusement, how he’s frequently remarked on his old age and has usually been asked to be precise while explaining the vast subject of science, precisely relativity. I wonder, how in a small instance, the evils of society keep varying in all the ages of life.
I have never known, Einstein had a flair for music and used to play the violin to his patrons. When asked, whether he can explain music by science? He muses at the fact that, how music can be explained by science and yet the explanation will be irrelevant.
His friendship with Queen Elizabeth and his travel to her palace brings in humor and thought. It shows you a way to find your footing. In simple words, he explains how a first class travel wouldn’t differ with a second class, if your objective were to reach your destination.
His breakthroughs, thoughts on the offer of being the leader of Israel, the fraternization of politics & science, friendship with the kid next door, view points on atomic bomb wreckage, the women in his life and their special cross-references are some more things that add to the story’s grip.
It is remarkable and flawless at the same time to see the director direct himself in this sympathetic monologue of Sir Einstein.
The play was a part of an official event DSF and we thoroughly enjoyed this unique experience of living the life of a scientist.