Timely in its discussion of nuclear power and what it means, Copenhagen thoughtfully examines the complexities involved in the creation of the atomic bomb. Outstanding acting and production work emphasize the moral conundrums behind Niels Bohr’s (Jack Winnick) and Werner Heisenberg’s (Richard Lucas) decision to fully develop the science behind atomic power, leading to the tragic consequences of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Michael Frayn’s three person play reunites Heisenberg, Bohr, and Mrs. Bohr (Joanna Churgin) in death to re-imagine the characters’ odd meeting in 1941, when the German Heisenberg traveled to Copenhagen to see his old Jewish colleague. During a short walk, something explosive happened between the old friends, forever destroying their relationship.
Frayn’s play makes the challenging scientific concepts understandable and emphasizes the moral dilemma behind what it means to create atomic energy.
Director Lewis Hauser keeps the action and ideas jumping through changing rhythms and forceful movement as the characters passionately discuss their histories and scientific ideas. The play crackles with energy from the cast’s intense performances.
Winnick’s Bohr charms with his warm, easygoing personality and beatific presence. Lucas brings likability to the competitive and arrogant Heisenberg. Churgin gives a passionate performance as the suspicious though supportive Margrethe.
Strong lighting, sound and production design enhance the story. Michael Mcgee’s imaginative set reveals itself as the inside of an atomic chamber, appropriate for the sparking imagination and intelligence of the two men.
Thought provoking and intelligent, Copenhagen is biting entertainment.
Black Cat Productions presents Copenhagen Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. through April 23 at the Attic Theatre & Film Center located at 5429 W. Washington Blvd. in Culver City. Tickets cost $20. For reservations, call (323) 960-4420, or visit www.plays411.com/copenhagen.