(Sarasota, FL) — Florida Studio Theatre presents the gritty and thought provoking Relativity by Mark St. Germain, a National New Play Network (NNPN) Rolling World Premiere. Dedicated to the presentation of challenging and unique productions, FST’s Stage III Program presents Relativity running for a limited engagement from June 22 through July 2 in the Keating Theatre. Tickets are available online or by calling the box office at (941) 366 – 9000.
In 1902, Albert Einstein had a daughter. Two years later she disappeared, and was never mentioned again. What happened? There is no definitive answer and there are as many theories as there are Einstein scholars. Relativity imagines one theory while exploring the two contradictory Albert Einsteins: the beloved Public Figure, and a stunningly different Private Einstein.
FST commissioned this work just over a year ago. Relativity received a reading during FST’s Summer 2015 New Play Festival, where it drew strong responses from audiences. Germain’s plays have graced FST stages for several years now. Hit productions include, The Best of Enemies, Becoming Doctor Ruth, and Dancing Lessons, which was twice-extended and played to sold-out houses. Producing Artistic Director Richard Hopkins speaks to Germain’s appeal to Sarasota audiences and the decision to commission this work. “He selects subjects of interest to our era and most importantly he addresses the subject with a focus on the universal,” said Hopkins. “He is dealing with subjects, issues, and themes that are of interest to us all. Mark has done one or two residencies with us, and I was already fond of his work and knew that he was a good fit with FST. When he mentioned a commission I jumped at the idea.”
NNPN’s flagship initiative, its Rolling World Premiere Program, supports three or more theatres that choose to mount the same new play within a 12-month period. The result is an NNPN Rolling World Premiere, in which a playwright develops a new work with multiple creative teams in at least three different communities. The playwright is part of the process, working on the script and making adjustments based on what is learned from each production. FST is the first stop in this NNPN Rolling World Premiere.
Directing this production is FST’s Associate Artist, Jason Cannon. Cannon elaborated on what it was like to work with St. Germain and his first NNPN Rolling World Premiere. “Mark is an incredibly generous, collaborative artist and a genuinely kind human being. The Rolling World Premiere program addresses the biggest obstacle new plays face: landing productions after the World Premiere. By expanding and sharing the cache that comes with the label ‘World Premiere,’ new plays are given significantly more time and support to reach an audience, polish rough edges, and grab the interest of other potential producers. This program makes it far less likely that a play will simply submerge after that World Premiere, that it can indeed have an on-going life.”
Germain speaks to some of the challenges he had writing such a theoretical piece that revolves around an icon like Albert Einstein. “I’ve done a lot of plays involving historic characters. I take care that any views that are presented by the character could be attributed to the actual person. Einstein was a challenge. After I told a good friend of mine about the play, she warned me that Einstein was revered and I’d be stoned by the audience for presenting him anything less than heroically. Personally, I don’t think anyone wants to see a story about an icon on stage. What people want to see is the reality of a human being with strengths and weaknesses like all of us.”
Hopkins concludes stating, “Relativity poses an interesting question: How much room or moral allowance do we give to the brilliant minds of the world? Is it ok that they act so outside of the norm? Do we instinctively just expect a certain level of misbehavior from them, or do we tolerate it because they add something so unique to our world? Relativity humanizes these questions and asks audiences to form their own opinion in regards to the world’s most famous physicist.”
The intriguing and provocative production, Relativity, brings FST’s Stage III program to center stage this summer. The World Premiere of Relativity makes its debut in the Keating theatre from June 22 through July 2. Tickets may be purchased online or by calling the box office at (941) 366 – 9000.
About national new play network
The National New Play Network is the country’s alliance of nonprofit theatres that champions the development, production, and continued life of new plays. We strive to pioneer, implement, and disseminate ideas and programs that revolutionize the way theaters collaborate to support new plays and playwrights. Since its founding in 1998, the National New Play Network has supported nearly 150 productions through its innovative Continued Life of New Plays Fund, which creates NNPN Rolling World Premieres of new plays; granted more than a million dollars to its Member theatres, their staffs and affiliated artists; and provided hundreds of playwrights and other theater-makers with developmental workshops, commissions, and paid residencies. Now, after seventeen seasons, hundreds of thousands of audience members around the world have seen plays that were created and honed with support from NNPN.
about FST’s stage iii Series
This offbeat program brings work to the Sarasota stage from both ends of the spectrum. Stage III is dedicated to the presentation of socially significant productions, stimulating audiences by presenting challenging content and unique form, featuring productions like Edward Albee’s The Goat. Though, it also offers something for the broader palate, seeking to entertain audiences with shows like Shear Madness. Stage III is also home to the FST Improv Troupe. Since 2001, FST Improv has been entertaining audiences, growing wildly popular. FST also hosts the annual Sarasota Improv Festival, now in its eighth year, to bring troupes from all over the world to Sarasota audiences.
About Florida Studio Theatre
Known as Sarasota’s Contemporary Theatre, Florida Studio Theatre was founded in 1973 by Artist, Jon Spelman. Starting out as a small touring company, FST traveled to places such as migrant camps and prisons. The company then acquired the former Woman’s Club building, becoming the first permanent venue. Shortly after Producing Artistic Director, Richard Hopkins arrived, the building was purchased and renamed The Keating Theatre. In the years that followed, Florida Studio Theatre established itself as a major force in American theatre, presenting contemporary theatre in its five venues: the Keating Theatre, the Gompertz Theatre, the Parisian style Goldstein Cabaret, the John C. Court Cabaret, and Bowne’s Lab Theatre.
Even with its growth, Florida Studio Theatre remains firmly committed to making the arts accessible and affordable to a broad-based audience. FST develops theatre that speaks to our living, evolving, and dynamically changing world. As FST grows and expands, it continues to provide audiences with challenging, contemporary drama and innovative programs.