“Heisenberg” uses rom-com structure to explore certainty

“We hold very different perspectives of experiences we imagine we’re sharing.”

Meet-cute. First date. First night together. First fight. A grand gesture. The plot of “Heisenberg” unfolds like a traditional romantic comedy. However, playwright Simon Stephens manipulates these familiar elements to take a closer look at two people near the end.

Alex is a 75-year-old butcher from London who’s set in his ways. It’s been years since anyone noticed him, but that all changes when Georgie impulsively kisses his neck at the train station.

Georgie is a 42-year-old American expat who lives in fast-forward. She talks non-stop, constantly probing, teasing and philosophizing. While she has plenty of life left, she’s run out of friends. Everyone who knows her gets sick of her—partially due to her own self-sabotage.

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You can’t help but fall in love with Lawrence Pressman’s take on Alex. Honest and sweet, with just a hint of curmudgeon to keep him funny. Each scene peels back a new layer.

Prentiss Benjamin has the harder task, as Georgie’s verbose intensity might leave some viewers cold. At times, the character feels more like a writing experiment than a real person. But for director Joye Cook-Levy, that artifice makes “Heisenberg” so special.

Which leads us to the uncertainty principle. In a nutshell, Heisenberg (the physicist) stated that the exact position and velocity of an object can never be measured at the same time. Stephens reduces this further to suggest that we can only really know people who have stopped living. Humanity means uncertainty, an ever-evolving mystery rife with possibilities.

Whether you choose to engage with the play on that level or not, “Heisenberg” offers enough charm to make the evening worthwhile.

Additional Notes:
Erik Diaz’s set design makes a strong first impression. Take a minute to appreciate the floor.

Pick a seat near the center. Most scenes contract to a space that makes sense for two people, and if you sit on either edge you’re going to spend time staring at the back of an actor’s head.

“Heisenberg” contains harsh language, sexual discussion and a couple in their underwear.

Theatreworks at Dusty Loo Bon Vivant Theater
3955 Regent Cir
Box Office: (719) 255-3232

Playing September 7 – 24, 2017
Admission: $42 general; $35 Thursdays
Running Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes

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