With Frayn's Copenhagen, Indra's Net Theater launches what's described as a thought-provoking series of plays that examine the influences of science on the post-modern world. Copenhagen is directed by Bruce Coughran, with Michael Cassidy (as Werner Heisenberg) Robert Ernst (as Niels Bohr) and Karol Strempke (as Margrethe Bohr.)
Copenhagen focuses on the 1941 meeting between Nils Bohr and Werner Heisenberg in occupied Denmark. This play explores both Heisenberg's uncertainty principle and the uncertainty of the human condition, the ethical responsibility of the scientist, the dawn of the nuclear age, and the trauma that was World War II. But it also looks at what we can know, or what can be known. What are the bonds that bring us together as people, and what can science ultimately know.
Copenhagen won the Tony Award for Best Play in 2000.
Why Science and the Theater?
According to Bruce Coughran, Founding Artistic Director of Indra's Net Theater, "there seems to be a thirst in our culture for understanding the complex and interesting world that modern science is uncovering. At the same time, there seems to be a thirst in the theater community for depth in the material that is explored on stage."
"Indra's Net Theater, based in Berkeley, will be exploring this new territory by putting on professional plays about the findings of modern science. Science and the theater have a potentially powerful collaboration. Theater, because it is an essentially physical experience, has the ability to explore challenging ideas (like quantum physics and the nature of life) in a way that is not purely intellectual, but is, instead, experiential. This allows for the ideas to be absorbed physically in the theater, leading to a whole new way of understanding and incorporating these ideas into our lives. Both the audience and the actors experience both science and the theater in a new way," he explains.
"We will then look on to plays that explore mathematics, memory, chemistry, the nature of life and consciousness, and modern physics. We will use the best of plays that have already been written, as well as developing new plays, and new theatrical explorations, including ensemble-generated pieces. Through this we hope to create a rich and multi-layered exploration of the complexities of modern science and thought, in a way that Theater is uniquely able to do," Coughran says.
WHAT: Copenhagen, by Michael Frayn, a production of Indra's Net Theater
WHERE: Berkeley Central, 2055 Center Street, Berkeley, 94704. (Across from Downtown Berkeley BART.)
WHEN & TICKETS:
Preview May 9, 7:30 pm
Showtimes: May 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 23, 24, 25, 7:30 pm
Sunday Matinees: May 12, 19, 26, 2:00 pm