xAenigma Theatre
Copenhagen by Michael Frayn

Dates and Venue June 27 to June 30, 2017 at 8pm; + July 1 at 2pm | Studio 16, 1551 W 7th Ave, Vancouver

Reviewer Ed Farolan

The actors at curtain call got a resounding applause at the full-house opening night presentation of this show under the excellent direction of Tanya Mathivanan. Francis Boyle (Niels Bohr), Eric Regimbald (Werner Heisenberg) and Tara Pratt (Magreth Bohr) were fabulous in the delivery of lines, pacing and blocking. I could see a lot of hard work put into this production because their lines were delivered so naturally that you'd think they weren't memorized at all.

The set in the round was simple: just three chairs. The lighting was very creative--from dark hues to bright pinlights as the actors moved in circles, with the centre being the nucleus, symbolic of an atom, which was the main theme of the play: scientists discussing atomic physics.

Frayn takes a surrealistic take-off of this historical incident which takes place in the afterlife. In 1941, at the height of WWII, German Physicist Werner Heisenberg pays a visit to his fellow scientist, the Danish Niels Bohr who was once his mentor in the early 1920s. The two end up on opposites sides of the war. The confrontation of Bohr, his wife Margrethe, and Heisenberg in the afterlife attempts to unravel the reasons behind that 1941 visit.

According to director Mathivanan, "... our world grows more tense politically, and with the unsettling rise of nationalism in the United States, we feel this play is particularly timely in its interrogation of the ethics and politics of science. Science cannot be impersonal, and it has profound consequences, especially as it is often used to fulfill political agendas."

This is a must-see show especially for students with science and political majors as it reflects the interrelationship of politics and the ethics of science.

© 2017 Ed Farolan