R. Buckminster Fuller: The History (and Mystery) of the Universe by DW Jacobs, American Repertory Theater, 1/14/11-2/5/11. http://www.americanrepertorytheater.org/events/show/r-buckminster-fuller-history-and-mystery-universe.
Warning: contains profound thoughts
Reviewed by Becca Kidwell
When someone asks me what subjects I liked when I was in school, I always say “all except science, I HATE science.” What I have learned over the past few years is that I have hated science because no one made it interesting for me. R. Buckminster Fuller: The History (and Mystery) of the Universe reminds me again that love of science and love of learning start with a person who engages, challenges, and pushes you to see the world in new ways.
The one-man show connects theories of science, philosophy, sociology, and sustainability to life. Fuller comes to life in such a way that the audience feels that they are at a “real” lecture. Thomas Derrah presents the same frenetic and contagious energy that was Bucky Fuller’s trademark. He bounces and dances around as he explains his principles for improving “spaceship earth” and also questioning all of the norms that surround us. Like Bucky, he uses any and all forms of media that are available to him to get his point across.
Beyond his science and philosophy lies the full-force determinism of the individual. He constantly reminds us that he is not forcing change upon anyone, but is simply providing some ideas of how change is possible. He is adamant in his own beliefs and will not be swayed by money or other people, and that is how he feels about all people. As an optimist, Bucky’s hope continues to be that we will all work together to keep “spaceship earth” functioning and that through our individual talents we will not only have a sustainable world but also an enriched world.
Thomas Derrah’s unwavering excitement and fascination gives us a small glimpse into what it would have been like to see Fuller lecture. This show is at the perfect venue in the perfect city for its genius to be appreciated. Inspired, I ran home to watch some TED Talks (Technology, Education, Design Conferences), so that I could watch more invigorating science and philosophy. I only hope that A.R.T. might find some way to extend the run of the show so that the most people can see it. This show brings a message of hope that is needed as we struggle in the twenty-first century to survive. It reminds us of our humanity and our need to build and not destroy; it shows us that we can do “more with less” and can turn around our seemingly dire circumstances. 1/19/11. TNETG.