By Jason Mount
Through life experiences, the universe has the power to greatly impact everybody. Whether it be a lifelong partner or a complete stranger, humans can connect in the simplest of ways.
The musical “The Theory of Relativity,” which makes its debut in the Yvonne Theater on Feb. 21, will explore this phenomenon.
Sophomore musical theater major Terren Mueller emphasized how applicable the musical’s theme is to all kinds of people.
“The message of the piece is something that I think transcends us and reminds people that we need each other,” he said. “The message is one of acceptance, connection and empathy, which I think are all concepts that we, as a society, can do a better job of practicing in our everyday lives.”
Mueller plays Mike, a man who faces “great expectations” that come from his family.
“He kind of has his whole future planned out by them, but it’s not what he really wants so it’s an internal struggle between pleasing his parents and following his hopes and desires,” he said.
Freshman technical theater major Makenzi Kalsch, who is the stage manager of the production, agreed about the idea of connection.
“I had a copy of the script beforehand and fell in love with the show when I read it,” she said. “The musical is about how we’re all kind of related and life’s connections between people.” Kalsch said “The Theory of Relativity” is not a typically structured show.
“It has an interesting layout,” she said. “At first, the songs and stories don’t seem to connect, but as the show goes on, you see how the different characters are connected to each other.”
Kalsch explained that the musical is connected to Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, which says that the laws of physics are the same everywhere.
Mueller also mentioned the unique, ensemble aspect of the show, wherein there is no one lead role.
“We all are equal on stage and all have something to share, and I think that just adds even more to the beauty of the show,” he said.
With equality on stage comes the need to feel close to one’s castmates, not just for the actor, but for the message of the show.
“I think it was definitely a challenge being thrown into the creative process without really getting to know the cast super well,” Mueller said. “Considering this is such a sensitive piece of art, I felt that it was super important that we all bonded as people as well as characters.”
Mueller explained that the cast partook in bonding exercises and that the show became “something magical” after friendships formed. He said the performance would not be the same without the closeness between the actors.
For Kalsch, the biggest challenge was figuring out how to fix technical issues during performances.
“The cast never leaves the stage, so one of the most difficult things is making sure that everything is set in its place and trying to come up with ideas on how to fix potential issues, like mic malfunctions during performances,” she said.
When it came to pros of the production, Mueller pointed out the creative team behind the production.
“They helped us reach our full potential as a cast, and I don’t think the show would be as good as it is without our spectacular director, music director, choreographer and stage management team,” Mueller stated.
Kalsch said the same about the cast, noting that “they are incredibly dedicated and want the show to be amazing and at its fullest potential.”
The musical is full of lessons, said Mueller, and audiences will leave the theater having been impacted from the production.
“I think that everyone will take something from the show, whether it be a realization about the way we interact as humans, or what comes after 3.14 in pi,” he joked. “Not only does the show have an important message, but it is visually stunning and everyone is crazy talented.”
A preview performance for “The Theory of Relativity” will be shown Feb. 21 at 7:30 p.m., as well as performances on Feb. 22 and 23 7:30 p.m., Feb. 24 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 25 at 2 p.m. in the Yvonne Theater. Tickets are available through the online box office: http://bit.ly/2ojIFEy.
Published in the 2/21/18 edition.