Meet the actor who does a one-man show about Albert Einstein
For 10 years, Duffy Hudson has embodied the genius 600 times. So, who is this guy?
Albert Einstein is busy these days. He, or someone who looks just like him, is performing in California, Iowa, Illinois, Nevada and Texas.
Meet 50-year-old Duffy Hudson, a theater actor from Los Angeles who has created a cottage industry putting on a one-man show about Einstein for schools all across the country.
With Einstein's birthday right around the corner, Hudson has seen an uptick in requests. "This particular month, everybody wants Einstein. And last month everybody wanted Houdini," he told From The Grapevine, referring to another character he embodies in one of seven different shows where he impersonates the likes of Edgar Allan Poe and George Burns.
Hudson is just one cog in a modern-day Einstein renaissance across art and pop culture. Not to mention the theories that made Einstein famous have made international headlines recently. His theory of relativity turned 100 years old and, in a "watershed moment" for science, his findings on gravitational waves were finally proved. The anniversary and recent discovery brought the world's attention to the Albert Einstein archives at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Einstein was a founder of the school and bequeathed to the Israeli university 80,000 documents, which span the spectrum of both his personal and professional life.
So how did Hudson find himself wearing the shoes of a genius? He was first introduced to Einstein when he was in third grade and his teacher showed the class a documentary about the famous scientist. "Oh my god, it was mind-blowing," said Hudson.
Flash forward a few decades and the oft out-of-work actor was looking for some steady income. And that's when he, like his muse, made an intriguing discovery: Portraying historical figures can be good business. Through his contacts in Hollywood, he booked a few gigs in advance and then got to work creating the show.
To prepare for the one-man show, which lasts about an hour, Hudson buried himself in Einsteinology – reading books, taking physics courses and traversing through Los Angeles' vintage clothing stores in the hopes of finding the perfect cardigan. He said he barely left his house in a month. "I left to get food, and I left to go to the library to do research and to go find props and costume parts."
He emerged to perform the first show on Einstein's birthday. Ten years and 600 shows later, Hudson sums it up succinctly: "It's great fun." He mostly performs his routine in schools, libraries and other educational institutions. He must be doing something right. After all, he was just voted the best one-man show in Los Angeles by the the L.A. Daily News.
And it doesn't hurt that he's embodying one of the most beloved public figures of the 20th century. "I don't think he really let his ego take over," Hudson said, pontificating on the universality of Einstein. "He was genuinely all about the work. And, of course he didn't live in a time of Facebook, either. So our opinion of him didn't get clouded. And he gave us such a gift."
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Related Topics: Albert Einstein