Michael Frayn’s Tony Award- winning Copenhagen takes a closer and fictionalized look at the real-life relationship between physicists Werner Heisenberg (Brook North) and Niels Bohr (John Honeycutt). While the play and its subject matter have the potential to be fascinating and it’s obvious that deeper questions lurk underneath the surface, South Stream Productions’ rendition, directed by Andy Hayworth, misses the mark by turning the material into one long, boring spiel.
The set is sparse, relying only on a few chairs, which the actors move around strategically, and the costumes, while believable, are drab. The drabness gives an old-photograph feel to the play, which is appropriate since all of the main characters are dead, but it ultimately means there’s nothing much to look at. In a play as dialogue-heavy as this one, a little something to break up the monotony would have been much-appreciated. And, while the actors tackle their many lines as best as they can, there were many fumbles and flubs all-around at Saturday’s performance. Each actor tried to say a line too soon or had to start a line over several times throughout the course of the evening, a fact made even more noticeable by the bareness of the set.
There is, however, some good to be found here. Honeycutt and North have nice chemistry, effectively portraying the friendship/rivalry and conflicting emotions that are at the heart of Heisenberg and Bohr’s relationship. However, there are also several too-intense moments in which the male leads freeze and stare into each others’ eyes in a way that’s almost creepy. Bonnie Roe’s portrayal of loving wife Margrethe Bohr is solid throughout, but unfortunately, she is the actor with the least to do. Emotional moments that should hit hard, such as when the Bohrs discuss their dead sons, lack real depth and never manage to impact the audience the way they were written to do. While the cast tries hard to handle this material, the viewer is never fully drawn in and, at best, this production is only semi-interesting.
SECOND OPINION: Jan. 7th Raleigh, NC CVNC review by Jeffrey Rossman: http://cvnc.org/article.cfm?articleId=5934.
South Stream Productions presents COPENHAGEN at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 11 and 12 and 7 p.m. Jan. 13 at The ArtsCenter, 300-G E. Main. St., Carrboro, North Carolina 27510. TICKETS: $ $15 ($12 students and seniors). BOX OFFICE: 919-929-2787, ext. 201. SHOW/PRESENTER/BLOG: http://www.southstreamproductions.blogspot.com/. VIDEO PREVIEW: http://southstreamproductions.blogspot.com/2012/12/new-trailer-for-copenhagen.html. VENUE: http://www.artscenterlive.org/. DIRECTIONS/PARKING: http://www.artscenterlive.org/about-tac/visitor-info. OTHER LINKS: Copenhagen (play): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copenhagen_(play) (Wikipedia). The Script: http://books.google.com/ (Google Books). Michael Frayn: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Frayn (Wikipedia). Andy Hayworth: https://www.facebook.com/thehayworth (Facebook).