Last weekend my husband and I went to see the Manhattan Theatre Club production of a play called “Heisenberg” in Samuel Friedman Theater to utilize our brief time in New York City (we were in New York to attend a family function).
I knew that the play had very little to do with the Nobel Prize winning physicist Werner Heisenberg; but I was a little surprised to see how little it had to do with Heisenberg’s life or his “uncertainty principle.” Yes, I was prepared to see a play that lacked the cerebral quality that was hinted at by the title “Heisenberg” after reading a WSJ review of the play (which I considered a little mean-spirited). But, I did not expect to see a play that carried only so very rudimentary, popularized notion of Heisenberg’s “uncertain principle”: for instance, the uncertain identities of the two strangers meeting “cute” were conveyed by the initial lies these quirky characters tell each other about themselves and the constant change of perspectives was suggested by the constant rearrangement of the minimalist stage by moving around a few rectangular tables. But these instances did not deserve the title “Heisenberg” because human relationships always carry levels of uncertainties throughout human history even before quantum mechanics was introduced. It is as if calling unexpected divorce, union, or Trump’s ascendency in the presidential campaign “Heisenberg.” If everything that is unpredictable or indeterminate is called “Heisenberg” what is the point in calling anything by that name? Rather, the play could have been titled, more fittingly, “The Curious Incident of the Lonely Two in the London Tube.”
I wish we could see “Copenhagen” (which could have been more judiciously called “Heisenberg”) when we were in New York City.