By Michael Frayn
Directed by Stewart Thomas
In 1941, German physicist, Werner Heisenberg made an urgent and precarious journey to Nazi occupied Copenhagen to meet with his former mentor, colleague and friend Niels Bohr. The two men, both Nobel Prize winners, were leaders in the field of theoretical physics, both with the capability and genius to unlock the conundrum of atomic energy and, more significantly, weaponry. But in 1941 they found themselves on opposite sides in a world war. The meeting was brief and finished abruptly. So why did Heisenberg risk his life to travel to Copenhagen and what did he tell Bohr that seemingly ended the relationship so suddenly?
For years historians and scientists alike have tried to untangle the mystery that surrounded the infamous meeting and in Michael Frayn’s multi-award winning play the two men along with Bohr’s wife Margrethe gather together in a limbo outside time where all three protagonists, now dead, try to redraft the events of 1941 in an attempt to make sense of them. There is more than one side to every story but time, perspective, emotion and our ever-flawed and fickle memories tend to blur the line between fact and fiction. Copenhagen is a powerful exploration of morality, of the uncertainties of human memory and why we do the things we do.
- Female. Playing age 40-55. Her husband’s rock. She’s strong, calm and acts as an intermediary to the audience. Often witty she provides an objective view to the men’s discussion, helping to keep it in plain language.
- Male. Playing age 50-60. Fiercely intellectual. Calm. Methodical. He thought of Heisenberg as his greatest protégé. Was a father figure and levelling influence to Heisenberg’s propensity for haste.
- Male. Playing age 35-45. Fast thinking. Fast talking. Explosive. Heisenberg is conflicted between his dedication to his long-time friends and the future of his homeland.
Auditions will be conducted in a relaxed, informal manner using extracts from the script. Actors looking to audition for the part of Heisenberg will be asked to prepare and read Heisenberg’s monologue from the end of the play. This doesn’t need to be memorized and a copy of the speech will be available from the box office to keep.