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Whether you're a genuine science nerd, a history buff, a drama geek, or just a sucker for a really good story, you'll love this play, which works as well in audio format as it does on the stage. Kudos to playwright Frayn, stellar cast (especially powerhouse Alfred Molina), and Audible for making this available. We are living in what may turn out to be a repeat--or worse--of the darkness and uncertainty faced by these two physicists and their families/countrymen, so we'd do well to study up on the history of how and why we got to this place, and Copenhagen is a brilliant, engaging way to begin. You will want to listen to this one in one sitting. Grade: A+
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This LA Theatre Works performance concerns three characters: the eminent Danish physicist Niels Bohr, his wife Margrethe, and the German physicist Werner Heisenberg (famous for his Quantum Uncertainty Principle). Shortly after Nazi Germany has conquered Denmark, Heisenberg travels from Germany to pay a visit to Bohr, his former mentor and teacher. Heisenberg's motives for the visit are unclear -- possibly to obtain Bohr's advice on how to build an atomic bomb, to warn the Jewish Bohr of the coming Nazi threat to his safety, to somehow tip off the Allies to Germany's ongoing atomic weapon research . . . or maybe something else. The themes presented are highly intelligent and thought provoking, raising unresolved questions of personal loyalty, scientific ethics and limits of personal courage when living in nations controlled by dark totalitarian forces. The play focuses on the tensions, mysteries and personal dynamics of this historically important visit. Many important ethical questions are raised and left unresolved for the listener to ponder afterwards. What are the ethical obligations of scientists during wartime when the stakes are as high as they were during World War II? The acting, dialogue and production values are first rate. Highly recommended!
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This small play has an experimental feel. Not only is it a hypothetical view of historic conversations between theoretical physicists but the characters are revisiting their lives from the grave and repeating the main scene with different interpretations. As a piece of experimental theatre I am not convinced it is a great success but as an intelligent and well written historical perspective it is worth listening to, especially for someone like me who likes physics.