R. Buckminster Fuller —or Bucky, as he was known—may have been one of the greatest innovators of the 20th Century. From his architectural designs to his day-long lectures, Fuller challenged and angered many intellectuals and students of thought.
Now California's Ron Campbell brings Bucky to life with R. Buckminster Fuller: The History (and Mystery) of the Universe, beginning performances in Chicago Feb. 6. Conceived, adapted and directed by San Diego Repertory Theatre artistic director D. W. Jacobs, this one-man show runs at the Mercury Theatre through March 25.
Born cross-eyed and kicked out of Harvard twice (once for partying with New York chorus girls), Fuller excited and angered intellectuals, architects and designers with his various ideas, including the Dymaxion House (1927) and Dymaxion Car (1933). The latter, for example, had three wheels, seated 11 and made a remarkable 30 miles to the gallon. In 1948, while serving as a professor of architecture, he created the Geodesic Dome, chosen as the design for the United States Pavillon at Expo '67 in Montreal, where it still stands. In his latter years, Fuller mostly lectured, taking his message that science and technology would save humankind around the world.
Jacobs used Fuller's writings and lectures with support from the thinker's family to craft a representation of his main ideas and his life. R. Buckminster Fuller made its world premiere at San Diego Rep March 4, 2000, before traveling on to San Francisco, where it ran successfully twice. After Chicago, the solo show moves on to Seattle.
Campbell is familiar to much of California for his London Fringe and L.A. Drama Critics Award-winning one-man show, The Thousandth Night, about a prisoner struggling to survive in 1943's Occupied France by entertaining a group of gendarmes with Scheherazade's "Arabian Nights" acted out for their amusement. He is also a founding member of The Actor's Gang. The design team for R. Buckminster Fuller includes Annie Smart (sets), David Lee Cuthbert (lighting), Dave Cannon (videographer) and Darla Cash (costumes).
R. Buckminster Fuller opens Feb. 11. Tickets are $36.50-$29.50. The Mercury Theatre is located at 3745 North Southport. For reservations, call (773) 325-1700. R. Buckminster Fuller: The History (And Mystery) of the Universe is on the web at http://www.foghouse.com.
— By Christine Ehren