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COPENHAGEN (article first published : 2000-05-21)

Copenhagen - the brilliant West End hit-drama voted the Best London Play last year, comes to Durban's Square Space Theatre and the Hilton College Theatre in July.

The thought-provoking play is a dramatic study of some of the issues that lay behind the discovery of the atomic bomb. Masterful playwright and novelist Michael Frayn refers to a particular historic event that has fascinated historians internationally for a half a century. In the autumn of 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 had revolutionised atomic physics in the 1920s. Now, however, the world had changed and the two men were on opposite sides of a vicious world war. The inexplicable and peculiar meeting that could have altered the course of history 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 challenged historians ever since.

Produced and directed by Durban-born and Canadian-based theatre director Maurice Podbrey who himself has performed on London's West End and on BBCTV & ITV, Copenhagen presents hypothetical discussions between Werner Heisenberg, Niels Bohr and Bohrís wife Margrethe. Both serious and witty, the discussions reveal a dazzling and terrifying international race to harness nuclear power in the service of war, forcing audiences to consider the moral responsibilities of scientists whose intellectual discoveries hold the potential for everlasting harm?

Copenhagen will run at the Hilton College Theatre from July 19 to 21 and in the Square Space Theatre at the University of Natal, Durban, from July 25 to August 19.

The play aims to attract students from senior high school classes and tertiary institutions. Maurice Podbrey will hold a free seminar on this thought-provoking play at Hilton College on June 6 at 16h00. Any one wishing to attend should contact Doreen on (033) 343-0126.




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