It's All Relative
Life and Times of A. Einstein
Review by Ross Anthony

There's a bit of title bait & switch here. By tacking on an apostrophe "s" and the word "Secretary" to its promisingly famous last name, this title would be made many times more accurate, and by way of aligned expectations, make the play less disappointing.

Towards that goal, let me be clear. This is a one-woman show. Albert never appears -- not via a male actor cameo, not by the woman wearing a wavy white-hair wig, not by video, audio, photo, or cartoon.

Allow me to qualify and disclaim myself because I may have a bias, which may have contributed to my disappointment. As an enjoyer of physics and astronomy, I've looked into this quirky character Einstein prior. Not surprisingly, his name in the title drew me to this play. However, I learned virtually nothing new of Albert through this work. That said, others may very well not yet know the included pop-facts.

That said, I think the play could have and should have worked anyway. Besides, the deceptive title, there's another factor which belies success. By design, writer/performer Kres Mersky sets the play up as essentially a stall. She addresses the audience as members of the press waiting to interview the famous scientist who is late. In the meantime (which is the whole play because he never arrives) she "stalls" with mildly amusing recollections of her involvement in his life. These stories are far more revealing of this secretary than of Albert. And while they're meant to be light and comedic, I laughed only once. Of course, humor lacking bite is a problem, but my point is that by design the work makes us feel as though we're awaiting something larger -- that never comes. This is a dangerous premise, to counter; the humor has to be mighty.

As a performer Kres is a pleasure. The problem here is in the writing. Were I her editor, I'd make these suggestions. 1) Go a little wider with that more serious vulnerable emotion. 2) Rework the humor, or decide that this is not a comedy. 3) Find a way to get rid of all that checking the watch and faking like there's something larger to come. Make us feel that the secretary presentation is the main event. 4) Instead of just pretending we're members of the press, actually involve us. Have the playbill printed on spiral notepads, encouraging us to take notes. Have lapel labels with names of various media outlets for us to stick on our shirts. Be brave enough to take real questions. Assuming you're an Einstein buff, wouldn't it be fun to answer on the fly? As the secretary, you could always say you don't know, or have some preset comedic answers for more common questions. Involveing us in this interactive way would help neutralize the unfulfilled anticipation you set up, and enjoy "the stall" as the main act as we're supposed to.

-- Books by Author/Illustrator Ross Anthony --

  • Life and Times of A. Einstein. Copyright © 2010.
  • Based on the April 11th, 2010 performance at Theatre West, North Hollywood, California. 3333 Cahuenga Blvd. West, LA CA 90068, (323)-851-7977 Written and performed by Kres Mersky. Directed by Paul Gersten. Produced by Jill Jones.

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Copyright © 1998-2022 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: or call 1-800-767-7186. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.

Last Modified: Wednesday, 14-Apr-2010 08:47:42 PDT