by Brian Coats, Education Programs Associate
NOTE: This Play Guide may contain mild spoilers about the story of the show. If you like to be completely surprised by the play, you may wish to wait until after seeing it to read the Play Guide.
October 25 – November 12, 2017
Georgie Burns: a 42-year-old woman who mistakenly kisses a stranger in a train station
Alex Priest: the 75-year-old stranger she kisses
What’s the Story?
One mistaken encounter can lead two people down a path of complete uncertainly. When Georgie Burns kisses a complete stranger, Alex Priest, on the neck in a London train station, she sets off a spiraling chain of events that threatens to overwhelm both of their lives. For her, it may just bring her closer to what she’s always wanted; for him, a chance to live life again.
“If you watch something closely enough you realize you have no possible way of telling where it’s going or how fast it’s getting there. Did you know that? That’s actually the truth. That’s actually scientifically been proven as the truth. By scientists. They all got together and completely agreed on that. If you pay attention to where it’s going or how fast it’s moving you stop watching it properly.”
When Werner Heisenberg first introduced the uncertainty principle in 1927, he stated that the more precisely one determines the position of some particle, the less you can know about its momentum. Simon Stephen’s contemporary drama does not seek to concern itself with quantum mechanics, but this is as close as he comes to directly connecting the ideas in his play to Heisenberg’s findings. Everything else is a matter of uncertainty.
And yet, Heisenberg’s findings are the crux of the drama, and his name makes for a well-deserved title. This tale of two strangers constantly circling one another, observing one another and discovering one another supports the scientific principle. The more they learn, the less they know; the closer they get, the farther apart they drift. What was once certain becomes nonsense and mystery as new information is revealed or discovered. As Alex and Georgie form their individual images of the other, they struggle to see the person that is physically in front of them. They are uncertain and, by association, so is the audience.
Join us as we open our studio season with this contemporary work of constantly changing certainties.