You Darling People.
FRANCISCO CHRONICLE'S HIGHEST RATING!!
of Circle Critics Award for Best Solo Performance
Ron Campbell as R. Buckminster Fuller
full, inspiring and invigorating...Staged with painstaking intelligence.
The remarkable RonCampbell gives a heroic performance."
- LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
"A spiritual and philosophical journey, fueled by an
unusual mix of personal passion and intellectual rigor. Campbell
gives a fervent, funny, heart-wrenchingly poignant andimpeccably
- Weiss, Chicago Sun-Times
"An exhilarating ride! A complex and beautifully woven
tapestry o fFuller's life and work."
- Kohlenberg, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
"A brainstretching evening full of rich, provocative
details. Theatrical thoughtful and highly entertaining. It will
boggle your mind in the best possible way."
- Jones, Oakland Tribune
"A brand-new concept in theater and well worth seeing."
- Friedman, KGO Radio
"As startlingly funny as it isintellectually stimulating,
and asgenuinely moving on a personal levelas in its hopes and fears
fix the futureof our planet. An exciting synergy ofcompelling performance
- Hurwltt, San Francisco Examiner
"An engaging and invigorating evening of theatrical
- Jones, Chicago Tribune
GENERAL'S WARNING: Caution, this play contains IDEAS!"
- Smith, San Diego Reader
Jacobs' two-hour play (which he also directed) is a lecture-drama
that interweaves the story of Fuller's life with a startlingly
funny, intellectually stimulating and moving exposition
of his theories, themes and epiphanies. In Campbell's unforgettable
portrayal, he's a thinker of dazzling dexterity who can juggle concepts
like a magician and balance an insight on the wisp of a metaphor."
-- Robert Hurwitt, San Francisco Chronicle. Capsule
a Ball in Fuller's Universe
Campbell is remarkable in Buckminster
its title might make one brace for an arid and abstract evening,
the show is emotionally full and not at all dry. It's inspiring
and invigorating...The role calls for a heroic performance, and
it gets one from the remarkable Ron Campbell...It's hard to imagine
a better one-man performance." -- Mick
LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle, July 15, 2000
Current Stories and Articles
the meek do, indeed, inherit the earth, one can only hope they'll
follow the lead of R. Buckminster Fuller." Contra Costa
that thinks outside the dome," Oakland Tribune
a geodesic dome, Bucky's history and mystery," SF
the critics are saying In San Francisco
Ron Campbell lets expansive ideas get under his skin as he plays
the polymath R. Buckminster Fuller
``History'' goes well beyond the chummy, audience-pleasing impersonations
of many one-man shows based on historical figures. As he travels
through Fuller's achievements and failures, personal history and
private demons, the actor creates a richly layered character who
is neither Fuller nor Campbell but a fusion of the two."
San Francisco Chronicle, October 11, 2000
Solo show depicts "Bucky" the scientist
and the philosopher
as startlingly funny as it is intellectually stimulating, and as
genuinely moving on a personal level as in its hopes and fears for
the future of our planet, famously envisioned by Fuller as Spaceship
ideas alone are exhilarating...but so is the personal drama....What's
inescapable is the exciting synergy of compelling performance and
San Francisco Examiner, July 13, 2000
Read full article
Dazzling new play gives Buckminster Fuller his theatrical due
Fuller is someone you're excited to spend time with. This is a man
so fired up by his ideas, so touched with the brilliance of expansive,
all-embracing thought that you want to run right out and absorb
everything you possibly can about Fuller and his work."
hot ticket - last Saturday's performance was full to bursting -
``The History (and Mystery) of the Universe" is theatrical, thoughtful
and highly entertaining. The play will boggle your mind, but in
the best possible way."
Oakland Tribune, July 18, 2000
Read full review
new and fascinating in the world of theater
new, unusual, and fascinating in the world of entertainment opened
at the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre - It's "R. Buckminster Fuller:
THE HISTORY (and Mystery) OF THE UNIVERSE" - a one-man dynamic
performance by Ron Campbell, one of the finest actors I've ever
seen. Portraying the late Buckminster Fuller, he welcomes you to
his classroom for a lecture on his expertise as an inventor, architect,
engineer, mathematician, environmentalist, scientist - a genius.
And it becomes one of the most enjoyable lectures you'll ever witness.
It's educational, it's inspiring, it's startling, but most of all
entertaining and filled with humor. It's a brand new concept in
theater, and well worth seeing."
KGO Radio, July 13, 2000
simple design conveys span of Fuller's wit, wisdom
Disney and AOL co-opted such Fuller-isms as ``synergy,'' this innovator
whose archives are at the Stanford University Library dared to delve
into ideas of substance, to look at possibilities rather than barriers.
And through the sweet theatrical rendering that is "History,''
the possibility of ideas is as vibrant as ever."
Mark De La Vina
San Jose Mercury News
August 8, 2000
Man Play Captures Brilliant Mind
informative and thoroughly engaging ...featuring a brilliant performance
by Ron Campbell in the title role...Romantic, idealistic, deeply
spiritual and profoundly humanistic, [Fuller] was simply one of
the great minds of his era. Spending a few hours in his presence
makes for an unforgettable evening of theater."
Contra Costa Times, July 15, 2000
R. Buckminster Fuller struggles to make drama of its subject.
the brain-tickling appeal of integrities and synergies lies a fascinating
personality, a magician of mind-bending ideas who hides, Magritte-like,
in the bourgeois guise of a bank clerk. Actor Ron Campbell is a
superb incarnation, gaining electricity just as Fuller did from
his rapt audiences and nailing his model's playful staccato rhythms."
San Francisco Bay Guardian
July 19, 2000
Read Full Review
Buckminster Fuller was brilliant, amusing, and kooky
Bucky-incarnation is a sort of West Coast tribute to Fuller by his
disciples, with a road-show atmosphere lent by various attendant
science forums and symposia; but it's also, God be praised, a solid
piece of theater. "
July 26, 2000
does a tour-de-force recreation of a Fuller talk, one that is -
like the man - physical, metaphysical, intellectual, eclectic,
challenging, and hugely entertaining."
Los Angeles Times,
Caution. THIS PLAY,
about the life and thought of Bucky Fuller, American genius, CONTAINS
Jeff Smith, San Diego Reader
SCENE: Building a geodesic dome
Bucky's history and mystery
Wednesday, October 16, 2002
©2002 San Francisco Chronicle.
was standing on a scaffold in the cavernous lobby at Project Artaud
Theater the other day, popping a wood strut between the flanges
of a star-shaped steel connector and bolting it in.
piece of cake," said Converse, who was helping build a geodesic
dome at the San Francisco theater, where the acclaimed one-man play
"R. Buckminster Fuller: The History (and Mystery) of the Universe"
engineer joined 23 other Bucky-minded, dome-loving volunteers -
- among them a stockbroker, a massage therapist, a cinematographer,
a bookkeeper and an organic farmer -- to put up the 26-by-19-foot
sphere composed of isosceles triangles of varying sizes.
Fuller, of course,
was the visionary inventor, scientist and social philosopher who
advocated creating "more with less" to sustain life on
"Spaceship Earth." His most famous creation is the ingeniously
simple geodesic dome, a strong, light structure in which stress
is spread across the entire form (he saw the triangle as the most
aerodynamically perfect creation. This will take 200-plus mile-an-
hour winds," said Converse, 49, whose girlfriend, Fran Doddroe,
a bookkeeper, also participated in what the play's associate director,
Rich Baker, called "a kind of Amish barn-raising." The
couple plans to build a retirement dome on an island yet to be determined.
This one, with
its color-coordinated, prefab parts, was designed and donated by
Timberline Geodesics of Berkeley. It's made with 165 struts, variously
marked in red, blue, yellow and green, and 61 similarly coded steel
connectors. Working from a how-to manual, the congenial crew put
it up in just four hours.
foolproof, unless you're colorblind," said Timberline President
Bob Singer, talking amid the buzz of drills, the whir of a genie
lift and the occasional shout of "Watch below! He's got a screwdriver."
firm made Dr. Evil's moon dome for the movie "Austin Powers:
The Spy Who Shagged Me," describes the dome as a remarkably
strong, energy- efficient structure, as well as "a very comforting
shape. It's the combination of not looking at sharp angles, and
being enveloped in a nice spherical enclosure."
has made many such spheres, including a number with his grandfather,
Buckminster Fuller. He watched with pleasure as this one went up.
us have watched people building houses, but it takes weeks and they're
experts," said Snyder, co-founder of the Buckminster Fuller
Institute. "For a few people to get together and in the course
of an afternoon put up this beautiful, strong structure is quite
was doing his share of lifting. He stood on a ladder bolting triangles
as the dome rose higher and higher. A Fuller fan who wants to build
his own dome, he was struck by the simplicity of the design and
the social implications of building these low-cost structures (this
one would cost about $10,000).
about the homeless problem, man, you got it solved right here,"
said Boudreaux, a San Francisco cinematographer who was happy to
gain this invaluable experience. "And I get free tickets (to
the play). How can you lose? The spirit of Buckminster Fuller will
be hovering around the theater."
Which is exactly
what the producers had in mind. "This just brings Bucky and
the energy and his ideas to life," said producer Jeff Rowlings.
San Carlos massage
therapist Sheridan Thomas saw the play when it opened in San Francisco
two years ago and fell under Bucky's sway. She dug the egalitarian
vibe of this endeavor.
to be in an environment where there are no labels or tags on anyone,"
said Thomas, who was mesmerized as a kid by pictures of Disney's
geo- domed Epcot Center. "It doesn't matter who you are --
black, white, money, no money. We're just hanging out, having a
good time and putting up a dome."
Dazzling new play gives Buckminster Fuller his theatrical due
By Chad Jones
July 18, 2000
[Full text of
review from Oakland Tribune (review not archived on-line)]
is the mother of invention, then R. Buckminster Fuller, Bucky to
his friends, is the first cousin of invention and a whole lot more.
call Fuller simply an inventor does not do justice to this incredibly
v ersatile and thoughtful man, a man whom Marshall McLuhan described
as "a modern day Leonardo da Vinci.''
obtained 25 patents for things ranging from the Dymaxion map (a
f lat global map that depicts all of the continents without distortion)
to a sel f-sustaining house to a board game, but Fuller was also
a philosopher, mathema tician, architect, engineer, poet and cosmologist.
the man who invented the geodesic dome (a lightweight, strong and
co st-effective structure made from self-bracing triangles) and
coined the phrase ``Spaceship Earth.''
All this from
a man who, after being kicked out of Harvard twice, didn't even
have a college degree. If Fuller's name doesn't ring a bell, you're
not alone in your ignorance. Thou gh widely respected as a thinker,
writer and lecturer, Fuller, who died in 198 3 at age 88, never
achieved the widespread acclaim he deserved.
That's one of the reasons that the new play ``R. Buckminster Fuller:
The History (and Mystery) of the Universe'' is such a treat. Writer/director
D.W. Jacobs brings Fuller to the stage of San Francisco's Lorraine
Hansberry Theatre for 2 [1/2] hours of insightful discourse on everything
under, around and above the sun.
Based on the
life, work and writings of Fuller, this one-man play throws out
s ome big ideas such as Fuller's passion called ``Comprehensive
Anticipatory Design Science,'' which he describes as "doing
more and more with less and less.'' Like he does with just about
everything he explains over the course of the show, Fuller, played
with great brio by Ron Campbell, never simplifies to the point of
patronizing of the audience. But he does get us to understand, which
is a major accomplishment for a group of people who don't usually
go to the theat er to learn something.
filling us in on biographical details like the painful loss of hi
s 3-year-old daughter or explaining the wondrous strength and simplicity
of triangles, Campbell's Fuller is someone you're excited to spend
time with. This is a man so fired up by his ideas, so touched with
the brilliance of expansive , all-embracing thought that you want
to run right out and absorb everything y ou possibly can about Fuller
and his work (and isn't it helpful that the Buckm inster Fuller
Institute is selling books videos and triangle-based puzzles in
the lobby?) The idea of attending a play that requires active use
of the brain is a daunti ng one, but Jacobs and Campbell make it
easier on us by wrapping all of Fuller 's world-saving ideas in
a nifty theatrical package.
The play premiered
at the San Diego Repertory Theatre last spring, and local p roducers
at Foghouse.com had the smarts to bring it north with the entire
production intact. Annie Smart's set is dominated by a hexagonal
platform and a giant video scree n across the back of the stage.
In addition to offering photographs of Fuller and his family, the
video portion of the show - the dazzling work of videographer Dave
Cannon - also shows footage of Fuller's inventions such as the way-ah
ead-of-its-time Dymaxion car as well as more artistic visions of
moving clouds , rippling water and exploding atomic bombs. The only
element of the show that doesn't really work is Luis Perez's original
music. Perez's sound design, with its beating hearts and ticking
clocks, is just fine, but the music is distracting and unnecessary.
Scored like a movie, the music usually comes in just as Fuller begins
to get emotional or when he starts on a really big idea like how
to end global hunger. Campbell's dynamic performance as Fuller expands
and contracts so beautifully that the music becomes redundant and
rather annoying. The stage, with its scribbled-on blackboard and
cluttered worktable, can't contain Fuller's enthusiasm. When he
gets really excited, he comes right out into the audience and sniffs
people, or claps people on the back. At one point, he even has audience
members stand up with their left arms stretched west and tri es
to convince them that they can feel the sunset.
insists that there's no such thing as a sunset since the sun isn't
moving and we are. He also insists there's no such thing as up or
down, but that's a whole other story. A surprisingly hot ticket
- last Saturday's performance was full to bursting - "The History
(and Mystery) of the Universe'' is theatrical, thoughtful and highly
entertaining. The play will boggle your mind, but in the best possible
Fuller understanding of things
Solo show depicts "Bucky" the scientist and the philosopher
By Robert Hurwitt
Examiner Theater Critic, San Francisco Examiner
July 13, 2000
The pauses are like temporary obstructions in an onrushing stream.
As portrayed by the mesmerizing Ron Campbell, R. Buckminster Fuller
was an inexhaustible fountainhead of ideas, a thinker - profound
and humane - of dazzling dexterity and a lecturer who can juggle
concepts like a magician, balance an insight on the wisp of an metaphor
and hold an audience spellbound for more than two ours of heady
"R. Buckminster Fuller: The History (and Mystery) of the Universe,"
written and directed by D.W. Jacobs, is astonishing for the density
of its ideas and the amount of theatrical riches it derives from
them. It's as startlingly funny as it is intellectually stimulating,
and as genuinely moving on a personal level as in its hopes and
fears for the future of our planet, famously envisioned by Fuller
as Spaceship Earth.
Jacobs' lecture-drama - written for Campbell and based on Fuller's
life and writings - was a hit in its premier this spring at San
Diego Repertory Theatre, where Jacobs was artistic director from
1976 to '97. It opened Wednesday at Lorraine Hansberry Theatre in
a slightly modified form (with the same creative team) for its first
commercial run, produced by Foghouse.com.
The ideas alone are exhilarating, delving into the fundamental structures
of an atom and the universe with the eye of a designer, the heart
of a humanitarian and the hands-on creativity of a particularly
inventive engineer. But so is the personal drama. Fuller was well
known for using autobiography in his lecture, and Jacobs skillfully
waves the visionary scientist-inventor-philosopher's life into his
Every aspect of Jacobs' production reflects this mix, from the tables
in the lobby - offering Fuller books, videos, toys and information
about ongoing global projects - to the forums presented between
each Sunday matinee and evening performance (this Sunday's forum
features Fuller's daughter, Allegra Fuller Snyder, and grandson,
Jamie Snyder, co-founders of the Buckminster Fuller Institute in
Annie Smart's attractively geometric set balances a table of Fuller
models and blackboard covered with scrawled diagrams against such
personal artifacts as an old phonograph cabinet and a Shaker chair.
A vivid mix of biographical stills, historical news-reel footage
and interpretative video images (by Dave Cannon and Bay Package
Productions) is projected on a large rear screen, playing off the
surf and whale songs, jazz tunes and evocative original music in
composer Luis Perez's sound design.
Campbell lurches onstage with peculiarly awkward grace, a tall,
gangly figure in a black three-piece suit (the "invisible man,"
"bank clerk" outfit he adopted so that people would pay
less attention to how he looked than what he had to say). His face
seems focused in intense, inquiring eyes framed within large spectacles,
eyes that blink in wondering altered perception whenever he removes
He begins with an impossibly prolonged pause, looking out over the
audience, gathering his thoughts. He drops a few coins, observes
them, then launches into observations on gravity that - within a
few head-spinning moments - have taken us to the notions that "You
and I seem to be verbs," that people are "patterns,"
that technology has advanced to the point where we can produce enough
food and other necessities so economically that "selfishness
is unnecessary and war is obsolete."
Campbell lurches from one idea to the next as if his ideas are percolating
too fast for sustained development. But that impression is as illusory
as the physical awkwardness that conceals extraordinary mimetic
grace. When he speaks of rowing a boat, his body recreates the experience
with wondrous economy of gesture. An invisible length of rope materializes
in the precise movements of his hands as he demonstrates a key principle
- that just as a slipknot moves along the changing length of the
rope, maintaining its identity, we retain our "pattern integrity"
despite all the food and air that passes through us and the complete,
periodic replacement of all our physical cells.
In two hour-long acts that pass astonishingly fast, Campbell plunges
us into a whirlwind of Fuller's ideas and inventions: His discover
of the triangle as the basic solid structure and how that relates
to the atom, the cosmos and the development of the geodesic dome;
the essential concept of synergy in science and society; a history
of civilization as prolonged battle for economic domination between
"great pirates" and the need to move beyond that to share
the resources that can support us all.
Interwoven with the4 ideas is the story of Bucky Fuller himself,
from the cross-eyed 4-year old whose perception of the world was
completely altered when he got glasses to the youth kicked out of
Harvard (twice), his service in the Navy in World War I, his long,
loving marriage, the shattering death of his first child, the religious
epiphany that made him dedicate his life to serving humanity as
best he could.
There are touching vignettes, from his awestruck meeting with Albert
Einstein to is fervid prayers to "God the eternal integrity,"
the affecting poem written to his wife, an attempt to explain fire
to a child ("Fire is the sun unwinding from the log")
and some lovely segues into a tai chi waltz. There are songs, ranging
from a heartfelt "Once in Love With Amy" to his own "Roam
Home to a Dome" (to the tune of "Home, Home on the Range").
It isn't necessary that you agree with everything Campbell's Fuller
propounds. His summing up of Malthus is simplistic and he badly
misrepresents Darwin. What's inescapable is the exciting synergy
of compelling performance and energizing intelligence. We have a
choice, Fuller tells us, between working toward a worldwide utopia
or continuing a dysfunctional competitive slide toward oblivion.
As the Beatles' "The Fool on the Hill" offers a sly closing
commentary, Fuller exhorts us take control of our finite spaceship.
"We are here strictly for problem solving," he reminds
us. "Don't give up."
Fuller' an exhilarating ride
coaster for the brain"
"Compelling and evocative performance"
Fuller is a study in contrasts -- egotistical yet humble, a brilliant
intellect with a childlike observatory delight, a scientist with
a powerful belief in God. Campbell portrays Fuller as a man who
holds humanity in sweet and tender regard, while still raging at
Campbell and the rest of the production crew have attempted to tangibly
recapture one man's unique genius. That's no easy feat, and well
worth the ride."
By Leah Kohlenberg
Seattle Post-Intelligencer, June 16, 2001
zest reflects Bucky Fuller's energy
high-voltage performance pumps up even the slivers of complex ideas
alluded to here. And he evokes Fuller's gadfly egocentricity and
jaunty nerdiness, as well as his tender heart."
and decades younger than Fuller when he attained national prominence
with his geodesic-dome design and other innovations, Campbell
nonetheless embodies the intellectual zest and quirky personality
of the man."
Seattle Times, June 15, 2001
Playing with the emotions at Intiman and
Ron Campbell...personifies the notion that "the universe is all
energy" with an acute physicality that plays like an urgent dance.
Jacobs takes Fuller's insistence that we must "fight and work and
feel until we die" and literally sends it out into the audience
with Campbell, who runs up and down the aisles in a passionate intellectual
Weekly, June 28, 2001
it from the top"
Enlightening and Engaging
strength of "R. Buckminster Fuller: The History (and Mystery) of
the Universe," the adroit and intellectually fascinating new show
just arrived at the Mercury Theatre, is that it boils down this
brilliant, esoteric visionary into morsels that can be digested
in a single setting."
exuberant ideas are dispensed via an engaging performance from Ron
Campbell. This California-based actor brings an ersatz Fuller lecture
to life with flawless delivery and startling vigor and panache."
remains an engaging and invigorating evening of theatrical mind
Chicago Tribune, Feb. 13, 2001
Fuller: "Highly Recommended" by Sun-Times
fervent, funny, heart-wrenchingly poignant and impeccably detailed
performance is driven by the quirky physicality of the one-man
dynamo he embodies."
a spiritual and philosophical journey as a crash course in everything
from physics and 20th century technology to economics, sociology,
education, design and poetry, the show's emotional arc is so powerful
that its scientific elements, which are handled with tremendous
sleight of hand, become surprisingly accessible."
Chicago Sun-Times, Feb 13, 2001
Read full review
It's Fuller Time
with actor Ron Campbell.
Feb 8, 2001
only the rare individual who is crazy or genius enough (or both)
to buck the trends that guide our daily lives and envision a fuller
human existence. The appropriately named R. Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983)
was such a person. Luckily for us, the spirit of this philosopher
(and one time Chicago resident-he lived right on Belmont near the
lake) is alive and well. Thanks to playwright/director D.W. Jacobs
and actor Ron Campbell, "Bucky's" energy, wit and brilliance is
simply and eloquently laid out like an acid-laced picnic on a hot
summer day. It's all about mind expansion, people. The inventor
of the geodesic dome (think Epcot Center), Fuller spent much of
his time on a logical plan to eliminate world hunger. His theories
are ingenious but unworkable, since pesky traits like cynicism and
outright greed always seem to win out. But it's damn fun contemplating
his ideas-and you'll leave a smarter, more humane person at the
end of the night.
New City, Feb 14, 2001
Fuller: The History (and Mystery) of the Universe" is easily
the most intelligent, most insightful and interesting show currently
running in Chicago."
in Fuller's trademark dark suit and tie, wearing the same square
glasses Fuller preferred, Campbell seems every inch the inspired,
quirky Fuller. When he gets excited, Campbell shakes the way Fuller
shook, the ideas tumbling out of his mouth at a speed that cannot
help but excite the audience."
Daily Herald, Feb 16, 2001
Read full review
'Bucky' Equals Simply Extraordinary Theater
one-man show with an incredible tour de force performance by Ron
Campnell, 'The History (and Mystery) of the Universe' is a thought-awakening,
possible life-changing encounter with the concepts of this complex
is an extraordinary experience not to be missed."
The Beverly Review, February 21, 2001
exciting as an action thriller, as vital as documentary and as moving
as a love story."
Suburban Chicago Newspapers
it from the top"
What they're saying about Foghouse
noted for "Most Auspicious Debut" in 2000
The San Francisco
Chronicle's Year 2000 summary of performing arts and theater
named Foghouse as "Most Auspicious Debut" for our productions
of "R. Buckminster Fuller: THE HISTORY (and Mystery) OF THE
UNIVERSE'' and "Culture Clash Anthology."
it from the top"