Frayn's Copenhagen Premieres at NationalDate: 24 March 1998
In 1941, the German physicist Werner Heisenberg made a trip to Copenhagen to see his Danish counterpart, Niels Bohr. They were old friends and their work together had opened the way into the atom, but now they were on opposite sides of a world war and the meeting would end in disaster. Scientists and historians have argued ever since about why Heisenberg went and what the two men said to each other. Copenhagen retraces their journey through the mysteries of the world around us - and on into the even stranger mysteries of the world within.
Frayn's stage plays include Alphabetical Order, Make and Break and Noises Off, all of which received Evening Standard Awards for Best Comedy of the Year and Benefactors which received the Evening Standard Award for Best Play of the Year. His translated work includes The Cherry Orchard and Wild Honey for the National, Three Sisters, The Seagull and Uncle Vanya. He has published eight novels, a volume of philosophy and wrote the screenplays for Clockwise, starring John Cleese, and First and Last which won an international Emmy Award.
Michael Blakemore has had a long association with Frayn, directing many of the plays mentioned. His most recent work is the musical The Life by Cy Coleman in New York which received 12 Tony nominations, and the award-winning City of Angels in the West End. He had an off-Broadway hit in 1995/96 with Death Defying Acts, three one-act plays by Woody Allen, David Mamet and Elaine May. A former associate director at the RNT, Blakemore's many productions there include The Front Page, Long Day's Journey Into Night and After the Fall.
The cast of Copenhagen will feature David Burke, Sara Kestelman and Matthew Marsh. Burke returns to the National after his recent appearance as the Earl of Kent in Sir Richard Eyre's production of King Lear. Kestelman won an Olivier Award for Best Supporting Performance in a Musical for the role of Fraulein Schneider in Cabaret at the Donmar Warehouse. Design is by Peter J Davison with lighting by Mark Henderson.