Scripps Ranch Theater Schedules San Diego Premiere of Unusual Romantic Drama “Heisenberg”


Local fans of British playwright Simon Stephens were treated to a rare treat this month.

Two of his plays – “Heisenberg” and the Tony winner “The Curious Incident of the Dog at Night” – were scheduled to premiere in San Diego within a week of each other at two local theaters. Unfortunately, the San Diego Repertory Theater was forced to cancel “Curious Incident” after heavy rains flooded the Rep’s Lyceum Space Theater. But the Scripps Ranch Theater plans to move forward with Stephens’ “Heisenberg,” which opens Jan. 14 on the Alliant International University campus.

Set in London, the 2015 play is an unpredictable and ever-changing love story between a 40-year-old New Jersey woman named Georgie who is a habitual liar and a 75-year-old Irish butcher named Alex who gave up life. Its title was inspired by the Uncertainty Principle of German physicist Werner Heisenberg of 1927, who says that it is impossible to accurately measure the speed of a moving particle.

SRT’s Associate Artistic Director Charles Peters is running the season’s opening production and he recently answered a few questions about the play, including his take on its unusual title.

Q: What made you choose this piece for the premiere of your season?

A: “I was struck by her unique love story. I like its simplicity. In the stage directions, Stephens says to hit (remove) everything on the walls of the stage, open the curtains, make him as naked as possible. This way you can focus all of the audience’s energies on the nuances of the two actors.

Q: In this play, the audience is never sure who is telling the truth or who is running the relationship. Was that a challenge for you as a director?

A: “We have done a lot of work on the table. We spent days and days going through the script in great detail. I’m talking about who has the upper hand. It’s very interesting how Alex comes out of her cocoon and starts to live a little bit and how she starts to see the importance of the little things in life. I also love that they are two broken people who have lost someone and live very lonely lives. They both come to the table with luggage.

Q: Why do you think Stephens named this room after Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle?

A: “I think it’s about the law of attraction and how opposites attract. Alex is on this particular rail that goes from place to place every day. He’s a very calm character. Georgie is up and down and left and right and everywhere and her energy is off the charts.

Q: Was it difficult to cast this series?

A: “When I first read this play, an actress in town came to mind and I felt like she was speaking to me through the script. There are several women in town who could have played this role, but it spoke so generously of DeNae Steele’s strengths. For Alex, we needed an older man who had a presence and whom she could fall in love with and find attractive. Then Charlie Riendeau came in and ticked all the boxes. They had already played father and daughter in a play and they got along well. I feel very gratified. Charlie has been off the stage for several years, so it’s exciting that he’s making a comeback for this great and uplifting role. ”

Q: Is there anything else you would like people to know about the coin?

A: “I want people to come and see him. We are extremely safe from a COVID standpoint. We’ve spent thousands of dollars deep cleaning the theater, protecting it from COVIDs, and installing new air filters. People should feel very secure. We can’t wait to have people in the theater again.

“Heisenberg”

When: Play January 14-30. Session times, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. 2 p.m. on Sunday.

Or: Scripps Ranch Theater at the Legler Benbough Theater at Alliant University, 9783 Avenue of Nations, San Diego.

Tickets: $ 10 to $ 39

Call: (858) 395-0573

In line: scrippsranchheatre.org