Einstein's Gift | Athenaeum Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Guy Wicke

Guy Wicke

Ron Goldman

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through Aug. 28 2016
Price: $32, $17 students and seniors
In 1909 chemist Fritz Haber, a German Jew who’d renounced his faith to advance his career, successfully demonstrated the feasibility of artificial ammonia production. His discovery led to the production of nitrogen fertilizer, saving Europe from starvation, and to the creation of chemical weapons—including Zyklon B, the gas used in Nazi death camps. Haber’s is a cautionary tale with global implications, and while Canadian playwright Vern Thiessen’s 2003 dramatization of Haber’s rise and fall has its clunky moments, it gives big questions about personal and scientific responsibility deep resonance—as does Genesis Theatrical’s stilted but earnest production, directed by Elayne LeTraunik. Thiessen shoehorns Einstein into the mix unsuccessfully, but his Huber is a towering tragic figure betrayed by his principles and his nation, compellingly captured in Chris Saunders’s unstinting portrayal. —Justin Hayford


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