Play about Einstein tackles deep subjects

One Stone[Woody’s Rating: ★★★☆☆

I found about five-sixths of “One Stone” at the Cinnabar Theater fascinating.

I missed the final few minutes of the slightly-more-than-an-hour play because I’d become an ambulance chaser. And I’m not an attorney.

Paramedics were taking my 77-year-old wife to the Emergency Room at Kaiser Hospital in Terra Linda after a fainting spell turned her fair skin whiter.

Which caused Eric Thompson, who’d been doing rather well without distractions in his one-man performance as Albert Einstein (or, more accurately, as Einstein’s mind), to decree an unscheduled intermission.

My wife’s home now — OK after 4 hours and 12 minutes and seemingly endless tests in the ER. But she’s unhappy, as am I, she’ll have to skip the final part of the “One Stone” world premiere because we can’t make any of the three remaining performances this coming weekend.

The show, which intersperses puppetry, projections, drama, music and even juggling, probes Einstein’s groundbreaking ideas, scientific achievements, humanitarian ideals and complex character.

Apparently no big deal for playwright Trevor Allen, a San Jose native who now lives in San Francisco and who’s previously tackled such tricky subjects as Vladimir Nabokov and high-tech — after having jumpstarted his theatrical career by performing in his own one-man show, “Working for the Mouse,” about his work at Disneyland.

I’d seen him do that one at Cinnabar, and thoroughly enjoyed its irreverence.

I did, however, miss “Creature,” his adaptation of Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein,” which was produced on the Petaluma stage last year.

Allen collaborated with Lunatique Fantastique to create “One Stone.”

And the show’s onstage puppeteer, Sheila M. Devitt, worked with that Liebe Wetzel puppet troupe as well.

The puppets, however, were actually created by Michael Nelson of Magical Moonshine Theater.

Einstein, father of the theory of relativity, and self-styled “deeply religious non-believer,” is depicted partially as quirky caricature: Thompson wears a white fright wig, drab monochromatic brown sweater over drab checkered brown sweater, and baggy pants.

Yet the renowned scientist’s braininess isn’t exaggerated one iota.

His aphorisms and wisdom — not only in regard to physics but vis-à-vis politics, relationships and the human condition — come faster and more frequently than the Trump administration can spew alternative facts.

So swiftly, in fact, they can’t all be readily absorbed.

Especially when the concepts run deep: chain reactions, curiosity, electromagnetic fields, education, God, the speed of light, photons and, of course, quantum physics.

Some tidbits seem as easy to understand as a bumper sticker or needlepoint. Like one that replicates an Einstein T-shirt my granddaughter wears: “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

But other material seems as opaque as a black hole.

Not everything is serious, though.

Humor is sprinkled here and there, and the play’s title is a pun: Einstein in German translates to one stone.

The show also starts with a play on words (accentuated by the Einstein character’s thick German accent): The audience is informed that E=MC-square means “Emergency exits Marked Clearly.”

Relatively clever, I’d say.

“One Stone” plays at at Cinnabar, 3333 Petaluma Blvd. N., right off Hwy. 101 through Feb. 19. Tickets: $15 to $25. Information: 707-763-8920 or

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Woody WeingartenWoody Weingarten, who can be reached at or, can’t remember when he couldn’t talk — or play with words. His first poem was published in high school but when his hormones announced the arrival of adulthood, he figured he’d rather eat than rhyme. So he switched to journalism. And whadda ya know, the bearded, bespectacled fella has used big, small and hyphenated words professionally since jumpstarting his career in New Yawk City more than 60 years ago. Today the author of the book “Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner’s breast cancer” is also a reviewer-critic, blogger and publisher — despite allegedly being retired. During his better-paid years as a wage slave he was an executive editor and writer for daily and weekly publications in California, Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York. He won writing awards for public service and investigation, features, columns, editorials and news. Woody also has published weekly and monthly newspapers, and written a national column for “Audio” magazine. A graduate of Colgate University, he owned a public relations/ad agency and managed an advertising publication. The father of two and grandfather of three, he and his wife, Nancy Fox, have lived in San Anselmo in Marin County for three decades. He figures they'll stay.View all posts by Woody Weingarten →