A Noise Within presents a staged reading of Michael Frayn’s Tony-award-winning play COPENHAGEN — which “soars at the intersection of art and science.” In 1941 the German physicist Werner Heisenberg made a clandestine trip to Copenhagen to see his Danish counterpart and friend Niels Bohr.
Their work together on quantum mechanics and the uncertainty principle had revolutionized atomic physics. Why did Heisenberg go to Copenhagen? What did he want to say to his friend and colleague now that they were on opposite sides of a world conflagration? In Michael Frayn’s daring play the long-dead protagonists Heisenberg, Bohr (and Bohr’s wife Margrethe) meet again to debate physics and politics, navigating the human shoals of love and betrayal while cautiously dancing toward the detonation of the fission bomb.
Frayn bravely dives into the world of Quantum Mechanics and Relativity — a world where where observers and observations shape reality itself — in a search for answers to a very BIG QUESTION: what really happened during that fateful conversation of 1941? COPENHAGEN is a monument to scientifically presented artistry, or is it artistically presented science? And like quantum observers, the audience for COPENHAGEN soon finds itself drawn in by the gravity of this emotionally compelling metaphysical drama — overwhelmed with the realization that in the very act of observation they too are creating the reality of the play. Quantum theory never had a moment quite like COPENHAGEN.
Directed by Robertson Dean.
Performed by A Noise Within resident company.
This will be a very special evening of fact and fiction. Noted Caltech physicist and television commentator Sean Carroll offers an engaging, pre-show mini-lecture on the origins of the universe—and makes quantum physics understandable to the rest of us! Following A Noise Within’s Resident Artists’ reading performance of the Tony Award winning play, join them for a spirited talk back on Copenhagen’s topical themes.