Left & cover – Kat Stewart and Peter Kowitz. Photos – Pia Johnson
It’s a collision of quantum mechanics with art, of romance with practicality, it’s not so much opposites attracting, but of two people crashing into each other’s lives and the fallout of said collision. In the same way every action must have an equal and opposite reaction, the Heisenberg principle (also known as the uncertainty principle) is that “the position and velocity of an object cannot be measured exactly, at the same time, even in theory. The very concepts of exact position and exact velocity together, in fact, have no meaning in nature,” according to Encyclopadia Britannica.
So Heisenberg is about uncertainty, of taking the plunge into the unknown with a stranger, a lover, a friend and to start really living. This is playwright Simon Stephens broad premise for the Melbourne Theatre Company production of Heisenberg. The one act play flies by in a whirlwind of humanity and the two actors hold their own in this fast paced and emotionally charged narrative.
The harsh talking Georgie Burns (Kat Stewart) enters Alex Priest’s (Peter Kowitz) life in a most unconventional way, and with her action the two forge a relationship that is most uncertain. Neither can define what they are to each other, however, somehow this strange pairing works.
The set is stripped back and suits the Fairfax Studio well, location changes are announced above the action so there is no confusion in this brief production. Stewart and Kowitz barely leave the stage and their presence is the reason for the success of this production. They are engaging and authentic and it is glorious to be able to watch actors work in such a natural way.
As the two work through the complexities of their relationship, Alex is a 75 year old Irish butcher and Georgie a 42 year old American single mother, they form something indescribably poetic. Are they brought together by love, or friendship? For protection, money or stability? It is never truly made clear, perhaps it is all of these things, or none of them, Heisenberg allows the audience to come to their own decision.
Directed by Tom Healey, who has previously directed two Simon Stephens plays, Healey has created a beautifully human piece of theatre, that has no conclusion and yet somehow still leaves you satisfied. Perhaps there is some comfort to be found in the uncertainty of life after all.
Melbourne Theatre Company presents
by Simon Stephens
Director Tom Healey
Venue: Fairfax Studio | Arts Centre Melbourne, St Kilda Road Melbourne VIC
Dates: 17 May – 3 July 2019