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Copenhagen written by Michael Frayn premiered at the Seattle Repertory Theater marking the beginning of its 40th season Frayn accomplishes a perfect mix of science and theater in this intellectual play which won a Tony award in 2000 Frayn explores the scientific ethics in the nuclear age and ambiguity of motives with the help of an elusive 1941 meeting between two of the worlds top nuclear physicists of the time Neils Bohr and Werner Heisenberg The role that Heisenberg played at this meeting is under heated debate throughout the scientific community Undoubtedly these two men invented the 20th century field of quantum physics Bohr being referring to as the Pope with Einstein being God leaving Heisenberg to play the role of either Jesus or the Devil which is the core story of the play The play looks at a verity of answers to the perplexing question Why did Heisenberg come to Copenhagen In 1941 Heisenberg the head of Nazi Germanys nuclear research left Germany to visit his mentor the eminent Danish physicist Bohr and his wife Margrethe in Nazi occupied Copenhagen Besides the mathematical references made throughout the play this is the only historical fact What went on during the meeting is anybodys guess Was Heisenberg using Bohr to acquire information about the Allied nuclear program to aid Germany in the race for an atomic bomb or was he trying to enlist Bohr to help slow the process for both the Axis and Allies The three characters reflect on what happened at that 1941 meeting when they all come together one more time after their death While based on their actual relationships and encounters the play ventures into the realm of fiction for the answer to the returning question Why did Heisenberg come to Copenhagen Laurence Ballard offers a spectacular portrayal of the intense and ambiguous Heisenberg while Raye Birk imparts a stellar presentation of the wise
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