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Friday, July 4, 2014


Imagining Einstein to tour KZN schools

“Imagination is more important than knowledge - Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

The Merry Scholar alias Cape Town actor David Muller returns to KwaZulu-Natal with Imagining Einstein, a single-handed play about Albert Einstein covering his life, his science and the world during his time.

Set to tour KZN schools between July 28 and August 8, 2014, the play is witty and informative and has been well received wherever it has been staged. In 2005, the International Year of Physics, it was experienced by over 30,000 students in southern Africa.

The duration of the play, which is geared especially for school learners in grades 10 to 12, is 60 minutes with audience participation. Performances cost R4,000. Discounts apply to performances that are confirmed, as a result of introduction by another school.

Imagining Einstein (IE) is available to visit schools in KZN by arrangement (see booking details below).

IE takes the form of a lecture-through-theatre. Albert Einstein’s four papers are explained. The play spans Albert Einstein’s life from age four to retirement in Princeton, New Jersey. Some of Newton’s and Galileo’s science is included. All in all IE helps demystify science and inspire young science and math students.

Michelle Saffer, reviewing IE at Kalk Bay Theatre on September 23 2010 under the heading ‘Einstein an Artist of Science’ wrote:

“How many actors can say they have been in a play whose opening lines are, ‘Ah, the universe!’ David Muller can, he wrote the play himself, a work of creation that Albert Einstein would probably have approved of. Einstein was also a creator, but a scientific one. Einstein, as portrayed by David Muller, was an artist, an artist of science, an artist of thought. He blissfully would sit and think, doing what he called ‘thinking experiments’.

David wrote and first performed the play in 2005, to celebrate the centenary of the publication of the Einstein’s theories, including the formula that almost everybody knows but very few understand, E = mc².

David immersed himself in piles of information, biographical, scientific and anecdotal, looking at Einstein’s life in Switzerland, Germany and, finally, the United States of America, and came up with a warm evocation of Einstein, someone you would happily invite to your home for a bit of apfelstrudel. He might have a bit of a roving eye but, ah, what a “mensch”, a nice man, always ready to answer questions from curious children.

The play traces his life from early childhood, amazed and curious to school, unhappy to be learning by rote, to his adulthood: his early years in the patent office, his marriages, his increasing scientific recognition, and the effect of the two World Wars on this pacifist whose work was the catalyst for the atomic bomb. It is a wonderful theatrical experience and David holds the audience’s attention throughout. He is always at ease in interacting with the audience, so much so that you almost believe you are a visitor in his study… a visitor to whom he will explain some science.

“If a theory does not make any sense to a child, do not waste any more energy with it,” David quotes Einstein as saying. And so David, who confesses his background is completely unscientific, has grappled with the step by step logic of Einstein’s science until it make sense to him, and passes on his understanding to us. I am proud to say that not only do I understand the words behind the concept that the speed of light is constant, but I saw that the speed was constant, thanks to David’s demonstration. And if I still don’t really see why we should care of E = mc², I know why Einstein thought it important to get to that point… And this from a work of entertainment which is certainly worth seeing.”

To book a performance of Imagining Einstein for your school, or for further information, call David Muller on 072 986 5311 or e-mail Facebook: The Merry Scholar. Twitter: @TheMerryScholar.