Heisenberg: Theater review by Adam Feldman
In Heisenberg, Mary-Louise Parker plays an incandescent kook who may be a little crazy, which is to say she’s totally in her wheelhouse. No other actor plays troubledness with such radiance; at close range—as in Mark Brokaw’s intimate production for MTC, with the audience on both sides of a narrow playing space—the effect is almost overwhelming. Yet she’s irresistible, which helps make sense of Simon Stephens’s unusual romantic two-hander.
Parker stars as Georgie, a hyperverbose and confrontational American woman who surprises a septuagenarian stranger, Alex (the measured and soulful Denis Arndt), by kissing his neck in a London train station. He is a bachelor, a butcher, a music lover and (in his quieter way) perhaps as strange as Georgie is. She unsettles him; but rather than fleeing, he allows her to disrupt his stasis, and they bounce off each other in odd directions. What this has to do with Werner Heisenberg—who is never mentioned, though scientific ideas are batted around obliquely—is anyone’s guess. Something to do with being observed, maybe, or with notions of position and momentum? No matter: Uncertainty, for us as for Georgie and Alex, is part of the charm.—Adam Feldman
Manhattan Theatre Club (Off Broadway). By Simon Stephens. Directed by Mark Brokaw. With Mary-Louise Parker, Denis Arndt. running time: 1hr 20mins. No intermission.
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