The relationship between memory, identity and human existence are explored in this drama by British playwright Nick Payne (Constellations)
If the workings of the human mind are the last great mystery, then rising star Nick Payne – writer of the wondrous Constellations – in no way solves it with his new play. But, within its delicate mesh of resonating stories, ‘Incognito’ does ask some big, existential questions playfully and poignantly. Most ntoably: how do we physically quantify who somebody is?
Two real-life cases criss-cross the play. First, that of American pathologist Thomas Stoltz Harvey, who removed Albert Einstein’s brain and spent the rest of his life trying to find something special about it.
Second, Henry Maison, a fictional Anglicised version of Henry Molaison, a memory disorder patient who lost his short-term memory yet developed new skills during his years in hospital.
And thirdly to add a more domestic, more recognisable thread, there’s a fictional contemporary romance between two Brits: feisty solicitor Patricia and jaded neurologist Martha, who is having problems owning up to her ‘new’ lesbian identity.
Payne is a gifted playwright, not the greatest scientist who has ever lived, so rather than drawing some profound conclusion about humanity, Incognito essentially serves to point out unfathomable we remain even to ourselves. And it is written with much wit and tenderness.
This is an edited version of the Time Out London review of Incognito.
The Victorian premiere of Incognito will be directed by Brett Cousins and Ella Caldwell for Red Stitch. Ensemble members Paul Ashcroft, Kate Cole, and Ben Prendergast will star alongside guest actor Jing-Xuan Chan.
|Venue name:||Red Stitch Actors Theatre||Contact:|
2 Chapel St
|Opening hours:||Wed-Fri 8pm; Sat 4pm & 8pm; Sun 6.30pm|
|Transport:||Nearby stations: Windsor|