UW-Green Bay Theatre presents ‘Copenhagen’

GREEN BAY — A mysterious visit between two nuclear physicists in Nazi-occupied Denmark during World War II keeps historians guessing and sparked the imagination of playwright Michael Frayn.

The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay presents Frayn’s resulting play, “Copenhagen,” which attempts to explain what happened when physicists Neils Bohr and Werner Heisenberg met one day in 1941.

All performances are free and run at 7:30 p.m. from Thursday, Feb. 12, to Saturday, Feb. 14, at the University Theatre inside Theatre Hall on the UW-Green Bay campus, 2420 Nicolet Drive.

The play is a representation of Heisenberg’s visit to his friend and long-time mentor, Niels Bohr. Since the Nazis had taken over Bohr’s native country of Denmark, the two had not seen each other for several years. This made Heisenberg, then working with the Nazis, an unexpected guest at Bohr’s home in Copenhagen, Denmark’s capital.

Historians have interviewed Heisenberg, Bohr and Bohr’s wife numerous times, but never unraveled the reason for Heisenberg’s uncommon visit to see his friend.

In “Copenhagen,” Frayn places Heisenberg, Bohr and Bohr’s wife, Margrethe, in a room with each other and forces them to confront the mystery surrounding that strange meeting in 1941. What erupts from the brilliant minds of the two physicists is an analysis of the connections between physics, war, politics and the human experience.

“While the play’s subject matter may seem a bit heavy, the audience will find enjoyment from the intellectual stimulation offered by listening to Bohr and Heisenberg argue the issue back and forth,” UW-Green Bay student Director Matt Fayfer said.

The cast includes the three main characters.

Playing Werner Heisenberg is Greg Elsen, a recent graduate from UW-Madison who is currently enrolled as a senior in UW-Green Bay’s education certification program. Elsen is from Two Rivers.

Megan Tresedder, a senior theatre performance major from Wausau, plays Margrethe Bohr.

Don Yarbrough, a junior musical theatre major from Antigo, plays Niels Bohr.

Fayfer, a senior from Appleton, was co-director of UW-Green Bay’s presentation of “The Balkan Women,” a production that was recently invited to participate in the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in Saginaw, Mich.

“Copenhagen” is being produced as part of the UW-Green Bay Common Theme, “Waging War, Waging Peace.”

The Common Theme is designed to encourage students, faculty, staff and community members to focus on a general theme from multiple perspectives and have a shared experience with open discussion and critical thinking.

For more visit www.uwgb.edu/commontheme.

Meg Tresedder, Don Yarbrough, and Greg Elsen in Copenhagen
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Meg Tresedder, Don Yarbrough, and Greg Elsen in Copenhagen
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Meg Tresedder, Don Yarbrough, and Greg Elsen in Copenhagen
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Cast and Crew
Greg Elsen, Two Rivers, senior seeking education certificate, playing Werner Heisenberg
Don Yarbrough, Antigo, junior, Musical Theatre major, playing Neils Bohr
Megan Tresedder, Wausau, senior, Theatre Performance major, playing Margrethe Bohr

Mathew Fayfer, Appleton, director, senior, Theatre Performance and Psychology majors
Dustin Wagner, Green Bay, scenic designer, junior, History major, Theatre Performance minor
Alison Tyler, Stoughton, lighting designer, sophomore ,Theatre Performance major
Donne Hensen III, Oconto, sound designer, senior, Theatre Technology major
Cassie Head, Milwaukee, costume designer, senior, Technical Theatre major
Joe Bauer, Two Rivers, props designer, junior, Technical Theatre major
Derek Sklenar, Prairie du Chien, dramaturge, junior, Theatre Performance major
Cassandra Schroeter, Milwaukee, publicity, senior, Photography major
Brittni Werner, Edgar, stage manager, sophomore, Technical Theatre major
Richard J Kenny III, Germantown, technical director, UW-Green Bay class of 2008.