Insignificance by Terry Johnson at the Arcola Theatre was certainly an inspired play and made a lasting impression. Even on such a small stage, the cast worked together flawlessly. The set, a hotel room in Manhattan. The lighting dimmed and the sounds of New York in the background transporting you from a theatre in London to the heart of Manhattan.

The main characters in the performance were based on Albert Einstein (the professor), Marilyn Monroe (the actress), Joe DiMaggio (the ball player) and Joseph McCarthy (the senator). The cast played the roles perfectly. The characters meet in the professor's hotel room, in which a senator comes in for a testimony. The actress wants to meet and converse intellectually with him, and the ballplayer was looking for the actress (his wife). Johnson captures the essence of the actress’s need to follow her gut instinct, exploring the glamour of being a star and the horrors of it too. Alice Bailey's potrayal of Monroe in particular, was exquisite.

Although the play was fictional, the acting and the storyline put together makes it seem like it truly happened. Be prepared for some science-related scenes as the professor and the actress character have many intelligent conversations on the theory of relativity. This was a shock to the audience and the professor character who didn’t know who the actress was and didn’t expect her to be as smart as she was. The science scenes were made not only to inform of how important the professor's work was; but also as a comedic aspect as the characters used a multitude of hilarious props, to make it seem easy even to people without a science background.

Well written and accesible, I foresee this play becoming ever more popular in the near future. Just remember "Smallness happens, aloneness happens, but the miracle is, insignificance doesn't happen" (Terry Johnson, Insignificance)


Tej Dhrona
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