York presents Michael Frayn’s Copenhagen

York University and skazmos theatre will present a concert performance of the Tony award-winning play Copenhagen by Michael Frayn, starring John Gilbert, Diana Leblanc and Karl Brunner.  The performance will take place today, from 12-2pm in Burton Auditorium, located on the Keele campus. Admission is free.

Right: John Gilbert

Copenhagen (1998) dramatizes the disastrous 1941 meeting between German physicist Werner Heisenberg and a former colleague and friend, Danish physicist Niels Bohr. Although the two men were old friends and close colleagues, their discussion of the atomic bomb and the fact they were now on opposite sides in a world war caused their meeting to end in disaster. Ever since, historians and scientists have wondered why Heisenberg went and what was said during that meeting. Copenhagen retraces their journey through the uncertainties of the world around us – and the uncertainties of the world within.

Toronto’s skazmos theatre was founded by artistic director Anna Pappas, whose desire was to make original Canadian plays accessible to the Canadian theatregoer, as staged productions, as well as reading and workshop contexts. skazmos theatre has presented many Alexis Bernier plays, such as Then, Patron Pick Award-winning Breaking Character and the critically acclaimed Berenice.

Left: Diana Leblanc

Martha Henry, RH Thompson, Elizabeth Shepherd and many more of Canada’s top actors have enjoyed working on skazmos readings of both classical drama and new Canadian plays, at venues such as the Tarragon Theatre and Canadian Stage.

Following the play, there will be a question and answer period with the actors and Professor Scott Menary, Department of Physics & Astronomy in York’s Faculty of Science & Engineering and Professor Edward Jones Imhotep, School of Analytic Studies & Information Technology, Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies.

Right: Karl Brunner

This presentation of Copenhagen is sponsored by the Division of Humanities, Faculty of Arts; Bethune College; Division of Natural Science, Faculty of Science & Engineering; Science & Society Program, Faculty of Arts; Science & Technology Studies and Natural Science, Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies; Department of Theatre, Faculty of Fine Arts; Graduate Program in Humanities, Faculty of Graduate Studies; and Department of Mathematics & Statistics, Faculty of Arts. Admission to the event is free.

About the cast

John Gilbert (Niels Bohr) is a Dora Award nominee. He has appeared on Broadway and acted in plays such as Chicago and King Lear. He has also worked with Denys Arcand, Atom Egoyan, David Cronenberg and Jeremy Podeswa. Diana Leblanc (Margrethe) is a Gemini Award winner. She has directed many plays, including A Streetcar Named Desire, Romeo and Juliet and Death of a Salesman. She has acted in Mirandolina, La Voix, Humaine and Love Letters. Karl Pruner (Werner Heisenberg) is a Gemini Award nominee, who has acted in television programs, including Ready or Not, Total Recall 2070 and Due South. His television movie and mini-series appearances include Trudeau and Chasing Cain, while his feature film credits include Dick, The Recruit and Welcome to Mooseport.

About the playwright

British playwright, novelist and translator Michael Frayn worked as a reporter and columnist for The Guardian and The Observer, publishing several novels including The Tin Men (1965), The Russian Interpreter (1966) and Towards the End of the Morning (1967). More recent novels include A Landing on the Sun (1991) which won the Sunday Express Book of the Year, and Headlong (1999), the story of the discovery of a lost painting by Bruegel, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize for fiction. His latest novel, Spies (2002), a story of childhood set in England during the Second World War, won the 2002 Whitbread Novel Award and the 2003 Commonwealth Writers Prize (Eurasia region, best book).

His plays include Alphabetical Order (1975), Clouds (1976), Donkeys’ Years (1977), Make or Break (1980), Noises Off (1982), Benefactors (1984) and Copenhagen (1998). His latest play is Democracy (2003), set in 1960s Berlin.

Frayn has also translated a number of works from Russian, including plays by Chekhov and Tolstoy. His films for television include First and Last (1989), for which he won an Emmy, and an adaptation of his 1991 novel A Landing on the Sun. He also wrote the screenplay for the film Clockwise (1986), a comedy starring John Cleese.