The title name-drops a physicist known for his complex uncertainty principle, but “Heisenberg” comes down to something pretty simple: It takes two to tango.
Human connections, natural, mysterious and elusive things, are what this modestly intriguing story is all about.
The new play, premiering Off-Broadway at the Manhattan Theatre Club, marks the latest work by Tony nominee Simon Stephens (“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time”). Mary-Louise Parker and Denis Arndt play two lost souls.
The play, under the direction of Mark Brokaw, unfolds on a stage with a few sticks of furniture and starts with a staccato, back-and-forth burst between Georgie Burns (Parker), who’s in her 40s, and Alex Priest (Arndt), a stranger 30 years her senior.
Uninvited, she planted a kiss on him in a London train station. The aftermath of the stealth smooch unfolds, and we get to know them at the same time they do. Which isn’t easy, since Georgie lies. A lot.
Who are the people in our lives, and what do they want? Uncertainty principle, indeed.
Parker, an Emmy and Tony winner, employs her signature quirks in a character who’s charming, slippery and annoying.
Parker is a natural at Georgie-speak, which is filled with switchbacks. “Yes. No. Yes. Really yes,” is how she responds to a question.
It’s a tricky part, and Parker hasn’t quite found the key to make it appear as if she’s not working hard at playing a character.
Arndt, who has appeared on “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Supernatural,” brings a warm, laid-back humanity. Alex is a butcher who thinks like a philosopher.
Over a series of relatively short scenes separated by blackouts and a bell sounding, the actors share a sturdy rapport. They frequently move furniture, but seldom us.
“Is this the strangest thing that two people have ever done in the history of the world?” asks Georgie.
Uh, no. But it’s a fairly interesting 90 minutes.
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