Have you have ever wondered what happened to Einstein’s brain? Incognito by award winning UK playwright Nick Payne is the new production by Red Stitch Theatre Company.
A thought provoking multilayered play begins with the curious case of Einstein’s brain. Ella Caldwell the founding Ensemble member of Red Stitch and Brett Cousins have both directed a masterful interpretation of Incognito. Caldwell and Cousins have cast with a sharp eye and directed with fine precision an ensemble of four actors. Their directorial prowess is remarkable as we watch these actors perform seamlessly on the stage and meld four short narratives into a unique layered exploration of relationships, neuroscience and Einstein’s brain.
Dr Thomas S. Harvey (Ben Prendergast) is the infamous pathologist at Princeton University who removes Einstein’s brain on the morning of his death in 1953. Hans (Paul Ashcroft) plays Einstein’s son confronts Harvey (Prendergast) as to the whereabouts of his father’s brain. Both actors are confoundedly convincing and precision sharp in their factual portrayals. Henry (Paul Ashcroft) in 1953 plays an insipid epileptic who doubts himself and his ability to love his young wife Margaret (Jong-Xuan Chan) played with unflinching devotion.
In the present; Martha (Kate Cole) a forties something neuropsychologist struggles to juggle her personal life and diagnose her patients. Chloe Greaves has created a minimal and fragile set design of black thread crisscrossing the set creating a symbolic representation of the complexities of the human mind. Four actors move swiftly in and out of their roles circumnavigating the baby grand piano (another metaphorical reference) that sits comfortably right of centre of the small stage. The lighting design by Tom Willis is a simple construction of dimly lit dangling lamps that flicker for dramatic effect, collide with the sound design by The Sweats. The Sweats have composed punchy and moody collisions of sound effects that add to the overall ambience of the production.
Incognito is a great play. It is a contemporary masterpiece and l highly recommend the Red Stitch production. Do yourselves a favour and get stimulated by these amazing brain waves!
A freelance writer and reviewer.