A play where history, morality and quantum mechanics collide
OCTOBER 8, AT 7:30 PM STUDIO 217, 217 S. Michigan $8.00 per person
In 1941 the German atomic physicist Werner Heisenberg made a clandestine trip to Nazi-occupied Copenhagen to see his Danish counterpart, friend and former mentor Niels Bohr. Their work together on quantum mechanics and the uncertainty principle had revolutionized atomic physics. But now the world had changed and the two men were on opposite sides in a world war. Why Heisenberg went to Copenhagen and what he wanted to say to Bohr are questions that have vexed historians ever since. In Michael Frayn’s ambitious, fiercely intelligent, and daring play, Heisenberg and Bohr meet once again to discuss the intricacies of physics and to ponder the metaphysical—the very essence of human motivation.
More information has come to light since Michael Frayn’s play premiered in 1998 about its subject: the ruptured friendship between Heisenberg and Bohr after their meeting. Yet the new material does nothing to alter the mind-expanding impact of a play that is about life’s cherishable value and insoluble mystery.
Frayn offers us several alternative versions of what might have happened when the two men met under the watchful eye of Bohr’s wife, Margrethe. But one of the beauties of the play is that, reinforcing a rule of quantum mechanics, it seems to change depending on how it is observed.
This lovely, intricate and heady piece is directed by Doug Streich and acted by Janine Felder-Kahn, Michael Coffee and Bill Svelmoe.
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