Manhattan Theatre Club presents the American premiere of Nick Payne's play, which examines whether our memories and identities exist only in our minds. More…
A pathologist steals the brain of Albert Einstein; a neuropsychologist embarks on her first romance with another woman; a seizure patient forgets everything except how much he loves his girlfriend. These mysterious stories are braided into one breathtaking whole that asks whether memory and identity are nothing but illusions. Directed by Tony Award winner Doug Hughes, 'Incognito' takes us into the last uncharted realm: the mind.
"It's the sort of faux-deep play that's so fun to watch in the moment that it's only afterward you realize something is missing. What's absent is story lines and characters that we come to care about...Payne's play is well-constructed, and there are surprise connections that are satisfying to piece together—but these don't outweigh a longing for a true narrative with a stronger point of view...His lack of conviction makes 'Incognito' a set of individual stories that don't hold together." Full Review
"Payne has compressed more information about the human mind into 90 minutes than most of us will understand in a lifetime…In total, there are twenty characters played by four incredibly fine actors. Even if you’re still scratching your head at the curtain call, one has to admire the marathon that they are running...While it would be unfair to pan a play I don’t fully understand, one thing is clear: at least for this reviewer, the meaning of 'Incognito' is in disguise." Full Review
“The last two minutes are the only fully satisfying ones...The problem is that while they really are terrific minutes you have to sit through the other 88 to get to them...The only thing that ended up resonating with me were those final moments with the amnesiac, beautifully realized by Cox, because they played to the heart as well as the head...I don't think watching a play should be the equivalent of taking a GRE.” Full Review
"Any one of these strands might have made a satisfying and intriguing drama about the mysteries of the mind…But deliberately jumbled together, they make at best a challenging drama, at worst a pretentious one…The playwright seems more interested in confounding than enlightening his audience…Despite these juicy morsels, my brain rebelled...My mind started working out different narratives than the ones on the stage, such as where we might eat dinner afterwards." Full Review
"Director Doug Hughes and movement director Peter Pucci run themselves ragged moving 20 lifeless characters (played by four hard-working actors). But for all that work, Payne’s treatment of his philosophical subject remains leaden in theatrical form...Whatever emotion might be squeezed out of this dry piece can be found in the bittersweet scenes in which Henry, who is in no way in touch with reality, manages to retain the memory of his love for his wife." Full Review
"One half of 'Incognito' is a mash-up of plots from a few Joan Crawford movies..It’s sentimental, but it’s doubtful Payne wants to be saccharine...The play is pretty middle-brow stuff...The third act, 'Retrieving,' comes chockablock with aha moments of resolution that don’t illuminate much of anything. The fractured structure merely obscures to allow for delayed and meaningless dramatic surprises. Playing multiple roles, only Morgan Spector manages not to overact." Full Review
See it if You want to experience another intelligent play from Nick Payne.It has unusual subject matter and the great cast members play many roles
Don't see it if You prefer simple plays that don't require much attention span or complex plots.
See it if you're interested in psychology, neuropsych, neurobio, science, etc. Can be a bit of work to keep up with no knowledge going in
Don't see it if you have no interest in the science/history of it. Need big sets/costumes. Can't deal with multiple characters/actor.
See it if want to see 4 great actors playing a multitude of roles. Enjoy science, medicine, and/or psychology. Writing is also very thought-provoking.
Don't see it if you don't like stories that are broken up/confusing at times. There were weird "dance breaks" that they weren't selling so i wasnt buying it
See it if you enjoy a four-person acting tour de force. Each cast member moves effortlessly between their various roles, inhabiting them perfectly.
Don't see it if you require a simple, linear story. This isn't that, though you get the whole picture of how the various lives connect by the conclusion.
See it if You love split story telling, non traditional staging, and actors quickly changing from one character to another! Beautiful story telling.
Don't see it if You need a traditional set and plot.
See it if you have an active imagination and like to be a bit challenged when you enjoy a play. Einstein's Brain is not a prerequisite.
Don't see it if you only like the straight forward, tell a linear story kind of play. Has some twists and turns and eventually winds up in a neat bow.
See it if Superb acting from 4 fantastic actors with nothing but 3 props and many different accents.
Don't see it if You want to watch something light and easily entertained. Definitely a though-provoking show.
See it if you'd rather see the good 30 minutes of 3 90-minute plays at the same time than sit through an hour of exposition to get to the good stuff.
Don't see it if you want a cohesive story told from beginning to end
See it if You want to see acting at its best. 4 actors 20+ characters. Confusing & dizzying at first, but then you get it..sort of. Go for acting.
Don't see it if You can't follow actors turning into different characters in seconds. It is fast and dizzying, so you must be patient.
See it if You want to see four actors play multiple characters throughout the course of a show you'll be thinking about long after you leave.
Don't see it if You have trouble following multiple storylines. Actors change accents between characters but there are no costume changes.
See it if you like ensemble pieces where each actor plays multiple roles, plays about mental health and science, you want to see some great acting
Don't see it if you'll be bothered by a problematic script even though the acting makes up for it completely, don't like shows that don't really "resolve"
See it if You want to see a great play with great acting. Geneva Carr is a star.
Don't see it if You're easily distracted. It may cause you to miss important plot points in a show like this.
See it if you are interested in quick but thoughtful takes on the very human experiences of existence as defined by the state of one's brain.
Don't see it if you don't like somewhat minimalist staging and conceptual choreography (which i really enjoyed btw!); if the topics are upsetting/triggery.
See it if you want some innovation in acting and staging. The characters are well played and nicely defined.
Don't see it if If you have trouble following multiple characters played by just one actor.
See it if You enjoy plays with actors playing multiple, quick-changing characters & scenes give you a taste of a story & then return to it, later.
Don't see it if U R not at all curious about the brain, what happened 2 Einstein's or bothered by 1 character's accent BAD as Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins!
See it if you like theatre that's intellectual yet also very emotional. If you like Payne's work. The more focus you put in, the more you'll enjoy it.
Don't see it if you don't want a show that requires you to work to stay with it. If you want something simple & easy to understand.
See it if you enjoy nonlinear storytelling and want to see an outstanding acting performance from Heather Lind
Don't see it if you find it confusing when actors play multiple characters or the sequence of events is not linear
See it if Thought the acting was good, stories flowed and it was just the right length.
Don't see it if The transitional choreography was cringe-worthy. I overheard several people who shared that opinion while I was leaving the theater. Ugh!
See it if you want to be thinking and talking about the show for days after the performance. You have to pay close attention, but it's worth it.
Don't see it if if you're looking for a night of easy theater. This play challenges to stay engaged the whole time, and if you don't, you won't like it.
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