Copenhagen | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Copenhagen 

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This fact-based but speculative drama by British playwright Michael Frayn focuses on two Nobel-winning atomic physicists, Denmark's Niels Bohr and Germany's Werner Heisenberg--longtime friends who found themselves on opposite sides during World War II. The subject is their falling-out after a mysterious meeting in 1941, when Heisenberg questioned Bohr on the feasibility and morality of atomic-weapons research. Copenhagen explores multiple interpretations of that history-making, much debated incident: was Heisenberg trying to trick Bohr into sharing nuclear secrets or strike a deal ensuring that neither side would develop an atom bomb? Frayn's dense, thoughtful, richly literate script examines the elusive, perhaps unknowable nature of truth in the arenas of physics, philosophy, history, and human relationships. Directed by Michael Blakemore, this beautifully designed, elegant, intricate touring edition of the 2000 Broadway hit keeps the talky script moving and the barrage of ideas accessible. Len Cariou, Hank Stratton, and Mariette Hartley give fine performances as Bohr, Heisenberg, and Bohr's wife. Shubert Theatre, 22 W. Monroe, Chicago, 312-902-1400. Through February 24: Tuesdays, 7:30 PM; Wednesdays, 2 and 7:30 PM; Thursdays, 7:30 PM; Fridays, 8 PM; Saturdays, 2 and 8 PM; Sundays, 2 and 7:30 PM; Sunday, February 17, 2 PM only; Wednesday, February 20, 7:30 PM only. $22-$65; $30 for onstage "gallery seating."

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Joan Marcus.

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