features

The Theory of Relativity

Bridget Flaherty ’21

Features Editor

Graphic Design by Hui Li ’21

ACT’s production of The Theory of Relativity showcases the human experience in all of its glory, putting the emotional matter of human nature front and center through individualized stories. Like any good ensemble show, characters and stories that seem to not be connected in any way at the beginning of the musical end up being connected at the end, therefore emphasizing the intersectionality of life. We are nothing without each other, as we are frequently reminded over the course of the production. 

Director Nate Tanner ‘22 expertly deals with the challenges and limitations of virtual theatre, using animation and backgrounds to discern between scenes and spaces. The editing is fantastic, so seamless that it looks like a movie. The success of the production is the result of hard work and effort from the entire cast and crew. Furthermore, this production is a testament to the power of the ACT community, as alumni contributed their time and talents to the production. The strength of the connections that these members have fostered to both each other and the community underscores the show’s message about relationships being essential to the human experience.

The cast was brilliant as each member easily captured your attention through the screen. They handled both their solo performances and company numbers with the same amount of fervor and emotion. The characters and performances communicate all aspects of the human experience, from joy to longing to anxiety to loneliness to love and everything else in between. It is equally heartbreaking and heartwarming as it reminds us of the power of storytelling.

The opening and closing numbers are especially powerful, as they bring each character together. Each cast member brings their character’s perspective and story to the numbers, making them two of the most emotional songs in the show. Seeing everybody on screen at once emphasizes the universality of emotions and the human experience, therefore emphasizing the message of interconnectedness. It’s comforting to see that each character shares similar feelings to one another, despite living very different lives. This reminder that we are not alone and that we are more connected than we know is particularly poignant as we’ve lived through a pandemic for more than a year now. We have all felt isolated and lonely at some point during this crisis and have had to find ways to feel connected to each other. The Theory of Relativity mirrors this experience and ultimately conveys a message of hope.
Congratulations to all involved for putting on a wonderful performance and making me feel a million different emotions over the course of seventy-five minutes. If you want a show that will make you laugh, cry, sing, and understand Newton’s laws of motion, then the Theory of Relativity is for you.

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