written by Nick Payne
directed by Doug Hughes
Manhattan Theatre Club
June 26, 2016
💉💉 out of 5.
I need to apologize to all upfront – I had trouble being attentive to this story. Rack it up to age or the being the 15th show in a week – but some of this story just slid on by me. The brain is no easy story – and this play is all about the brain. (I found it ironic that my first play on this trip to NYC was The Effect and my last show of this trip was Incognito: one trying to medicate the brain and the other walking around and taunting it.The set was a stark circular platform encircled in light: the beautiful brain. A cast of four actors play over 20 different characters that create a bit of a soap opera based on the true life incident of a Princeton pathologist, Thomas Harvey who actually stole a bit of Einstein’s brain in a failed effort to understand what made this brain so exceptional. Around this story is a collection of fictional characters – – from clinical researchers, psychologists, scientists, lawyers, etc. all working to understand the human brain. The most striking character for me was the man who had such severe amnesia that he was forgetting things almost as fast as they were happening.
It was a huge ninety minute puzzle that was broken up for the audience to assemble and take meaning from. I tried; I got most of it; but, ultimately after all of that piecing together of the story, I wanted a bigger pay off and I didn’t get it.
I like Nick Payne’s Constellations. I liked how he had science meet a love story – – but with Incognito I was left a bit out in the cold.