Monday, April 5, 2010

Albert's Birthday

Kres Mersky

We call women who act ‘actors’ now. We used to call really good actresses ‘actors’ as a compliment. Kres Mersky is truly an actor who brings her “The Life and Times of A. Einstein” to the Theatre West stage triumphantly. Her career as an actor blossoms the way a fine wine caresses the palate and the warmth of a summer’s day lingers in the twilight.

Over the years Kres has done versions of her one woman masterpiece and it has only gotten better with time. Having first seen her at the Taper, Too several years ago, it was refreshing to see that time has been good to her.. she’s still playing beyond her age in years. As Einstein’s loyal secretary, Ellen Schoenhammer.. (“beautiful hammer” in German), she greets members of the press (the assembled theatre audience) who have come to interview The Professor on the occasion of his birthday. Ellen vamps as Einstein is not in residence and Anna, the new housekeeper has screwed up the cake order.

We segue in time as Ellen’s tenure in Einstein’s employ advances from ten to seventeen to twenty-seven years. Her final scene is poignant and dignified.

Mersky commands the stage with angst and good humor as time after time she has to make excuses for her employer's absence. As time goes by, we learn that she has absorbed some of Einstein’s theories and with a wry smile explains them… sort of. She charms us as she explains how she met the great man and was awarded her job where they met standing by a lake in Germany… Einstein in sandals… Ellen with a gun… She is mesmerized by the scientist’s toes!

A family affair, Mersky's husband, Paul Gertson, directs. The beats and pauses are flawless. Yancey Dunham’s simple lighting subtly sustains the mood on an uncredited set.

The ninety minute show rolls smoothly from start to finish with the ebb and flow of silly moments and serious. Mersky’s professional sense of timing surprises us with her efficiency as a secretary. She draws us into this affable character whom she has created from the wonderfulness of her vivid imagination. This is a tour de force performance that lovers of theatre and even lovers of science should put at the top of their list of evenings for pure entertainment.

The Life and Times of A. Einstein
Written and performed by Kres Mersky
In Repertory with Acting: The First Six Lessons with Beau and Emily Bridges
Saturdays at 8PM and Sundays at 7PM
Theatre West
3333 Cahuenga West
Los Angeles, CA 90068
$25 Top
Reservations: 323 851 7977
Through May 16, 2010

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