In 1941 the German physicist Werner Heisenberg made a strange trip to Copenhagen to see his Danish counterpart, Niels Bohr. They were old friends and close colleagues, and they had revolutionized atomic physics in the 1920s with their work together on quantum mechanics and the uncertainty principle. But now the world had changed, and the two men were on opposite sides in a world war. The meeting was fraught with danger and embarrassment, and ended in disaster.
Why Heisenberg went to Copenhagen and what he wanted to say to Bohr are questions which have exercised historians ever since. In Michael Frayn's new play Heisenberg meets Bohr and his wife Margrethe once again to look for the answers, and to work out, just as they had once worked out the internal functioning of the atom, how we can ever know why we do what we do.
Copenhagen premiered in May 1998 at the Royale National Theatre, London, and in April 2000 at the Royale Theater, New York. Both productions were directed by Michael Blakemore.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michael Frayn was born in London in 1933 and began his career as a journalist on the Guardian and the Observer. Cophenhagen is the thirteenth of his plays.