by Lydia Baxter
Have you ever met someone who utterly and completely changed your life? This is just what Georgie Burns, a verbose American woman, discovers when she meets Alex Priest, an aloof Irishman, in a London train station. Within moments of their meeting, driven by impulse and desire, she plants a kiss on Alex’s neck.
Now, to most of us, this level of intimacy between strangers might seem especially, well, strange. But romantic as it may sound, this is not another cliché love story. Heisenberg by Simon Stephens, our second show of the Winter Mainstage Season, is a tale of serendipity and self-discovery. It examines how other people—including total strangers—surprise and challenge us, and in turn, force us to face our own idiosyncrasies.
At first glance, Georgie, a middle-aged spitfire of a woman, appears to be an incredibly unlikely match for the reserved older man, Alex. After meeting Georgie, Alex’s solitary, structured existence is turned inside out, and Georgie is exposed to a new way of approaching life. Georgie and Alex are not the only ones to be surprised— audiences will be surprised as well. Mark Brokaw, Director of the original Manhattan Theatre Club production, explains that when audiences first meet these characters, “they think [Alex and Georgie] are a certain way and come to discover with each scene that [the characters] are not anything you thought they were.”
Heisenberg is a play rich in nuance and character development. The intimate setting of FST’s historic Keating Theatre will allow audiences to observe the detailed changes of our two characters as their relationship unfolds.
With two plays already produced on Broadway—The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and Heisenberg—British playwright Simon Stephens has gained serious momentum in the United States. An Olivier and Tony Award-winner, Stephens has written over 30 plays. Yet, Heisenberg is distinct. According to Stephens, in Heisenberg, he “wanted to try and release the instinctive—the unpredictable.”
Last seen in the director’s chair for the Summer Mainstage The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey, Kate Alexander, FST’s Associate Director At-Large, is thrilled to be directing Heisenberg. Returning to FST for her sixth production, Rachel Moulton will be playing Georgie Burns. As part of last year’s Stage III season, Moulton played “Pilot” in Grounded, and her honesty and vulnerability in that role made her the perfect choice for the part of Georgie. Playing Alex Priest is Mark Murphey, a newcomer to FST.
No matter what stage of life a person has reached, one thing is guaranteed: life itself and the people in it will never cease to surprise.