The Gravity of Connection

Western presents “The Theory of Relativity” this winter term

Camille Lenning | Entertainment Editor

The 2021 – 22 academic year marks the return of in person shows on campus. Western’s theatre department is keeping to its winter term biennial tradition with their production of “The Theory of Relativity,” a musical written by playwright Brian Hill, with music composed by Neil Bartram. 

The musical offers a unique situation for those involved with its production — a large cast with relatively little set dressing. “The Theory of Relativity” is a largely student-produced play, featuring 18 actors and several student crew members, with only a few staff and faculty supervisors. 

The show itself is essentially a collection of songs with a recurring theme, according to the play’s director and Western theatre professor Dr. Michael Phillips. 

“This was (written by) a composer and a lyricist who got together with a bunch of college people and said ‘tell us your stories about what it means to connect to people,’” Phillips explained. “Out of those stories came the music for the show.”

Each song has its own unique topic, but all orbit around the theme of human connection. They eventually tie together in the grand finale, circling the center of gravity Einstein theorized in his theory of relativity.

Senior theater-actor training major Tessa Rosenau plays the character Beth in the musical, and will perform in the duet “Lipstick.” The song details an interaction between two individuals making eye contact on a busy sidewalk, and the mental anguish that follows. 

The dramedy promises to be a delightful addition to Western’s winter musical repertoire. 

“The Theory of Relativity” will have its opening night on Feb. 24 at 7:30 p.m., and will play at the same time through Feb. 26, as well as March 2 – March 5. There will be a matinee show at 2 p.m. on Feb. 27. Friday showings will be ASL interpreted. 

General admission will cost $14, senior citizens and Western faculty and staff tickets will cost $10, and Western students with a valid school ID can pick up their tickets for free.

“It’s really about how everybody is just getting through life and is in some way affected by and affecting others around them, and how that plays out in multiple different ways.”

18 students in the cast, 3 stage managers, 1 assistant director 

“I think it’s really close to being ready, I’m really excited. I think we’ve just peaked at the right time in the rehearsals. It feels like it’s ready to be presented to an audience, so I’m really excited for that.”

“This was (written by) a composer and a lyricist who got together with a bunch of college people and said ‘tell us your stories about what it means to connect to people, and what it means to be in relationships with people around you,’ and out of those stories came the music for the show. It’s really a show that originated with college aged people and is perfect for college aged people to perform. It’s good! You should come see it!”

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