New Play at Gustavus Commissioned to Explore Einstein and Time

Posted on September 16th, 2005 by

The cast of Clockworks: Einstein Time.

The cast of Clockworks: Einstein Time.

Playwright Janet Allard (left) and director Amy Seham watch a rehearsal of Clockworks: Einstein Time.

Playwright Janet Allard (left) and director Amy Seham watch a rehearsal of Clockworks: Einstein Time.

Award-winning playwright Janet Allard’s newest play, Clockworks: Einstein Time, commissioned by Gustavus Adolphus College, premieres in Anderson Theatre on the Gustavus campus, Tuesday, September 27, as part of the 2005 Nobel Conference, The Legacy of Einstein. Since tickets are limited to conference participants for the premiere, additional performances are scheduled for 8:00 p.m. September 29, 30, and October 1, and 2:00 p.m. on October 2 in Anderson Theatre. Tickets for these additional performances are available at the Gustavus Ticket Center or by calling (507) 933-7590.

Director Amy Seham describes Allard’s play as a series of vignettes on how we perceive time. Albert Einstein may have brought the world relativity in the physical sense, but he also questioned our perception of time and it’s “relative” sense. For some, time passes quickly as the child becomes an adult overnight. For others, it drags slowly along as a child eagerly awaits an important holiday. Some never leave the past as they revel in the glory days of high school or college, wanting to recapture the past, a time that never ends.

Throughout the play, Allard uses Einstein’s own words to develop the perceptions people have of time and how it is used. Allard delves into the subject as she examines the introspective Einstein quoted as saying “the only life worth living is one lived for other people.” These words were the impetus for Gustavus’ Center for Vocational Reflection to commission Janet Allard to write a play to speak to the various aspects of Einstein’s connection to time. What inspired him, how did art and theatre speak to this man, what did his chosen career mean for him and for mankind? And for us today, what do these questions mean for us?

Amy Seham describes the play as entertaining and thought provoking. It’s not simply another lecture about Einstein, but rather a means to explore the inspirations that made the man and developed his perception of the world around him. It examines Einstein the scientist whose research brought the world into the atomic age and Einstein the pacifist who stated that “peace can not be kept by force, it can only achieved by understanding.” It questions how this Jewish man perceived the rise of fascism in his homeland of Germany and how one should respond to such horror.

Clockworks: Einstein Time was made possible by NEW PLAYS ON CAMPUS, a national project undertaken by The Playwrights’ Center. The program was created by the Minneapolis-based Playwrights’ Center in order to introduce playwrights to college campuses. Begun as a regional program in May of 2004, NEW PLAYS ON CAMPUS has since enrolled more than 20 colleges in 10 states. The Playwrights’ Center takes the role of quality screening for colleges, sifting through the thousands of new manuscripts each year, and finding promising ones for colleges to produce. In the process, playwrights establish contacts with students, visit possible venues for future plays, and find locations
for potential residencies.

Playwright Janet Allard is the recipient of two Jerome Fellowships at The Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis. A prolific writer, Ms. Allard’s work has been seen at The Guthrie Lab, The Kennedy Center, Mixed Blood, Playwrights Horizons, Yale Rep, The Yale Cabaret, The Women’s Project and Productions, Perseverance Theatre, The House Of Candles, and Access Theater in New York City, as well as internationally in Ireland, England, Greece, and New Zealand. She is a MacDowell Colony Fellow and a Fulbright Fellow (1998, New Zealand and the South Pacific). She is a core member of The Playwrights’ Center and has an M.F.A. from the Yale School of Drama.

Performances of Clockworks: Einstein Time begin at 8:00 p.m. in Anderson Theatre on the Gustavus campus and run September 29 through October 1. A 2:00 p.m. matinee is scheduled for Sunday, October 2.


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