Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Speaking of post-war Germany...

So the same week that we watched The Good German, we went to see the play Copenhagen. When we chose the movie, we really didn't think about the connection. It's not like we thought to ourselves, "Oh, let's watch something else about the atom bomb, Germany and WWII."

I'd always wanted to see Copenhagen and it was a good production. Will LeBow, Boston's resident theater God was Niels Bohr. John Kuntz, Boston's resident clown, challenged himself with the role of Heisenberg. He received very good reviews and my husband said (we saw him afterwards) that he would have never guessed that John would sound, well, like a queen offstage, based on his role onstage. I know John peripherally, but he'd recently been in a show with Mirror's wife. We actually ran into Mirror, his wife and another mutual friend at the show. Very fun, at a not so fun play.

It's about a mysterious meeting between Bohr and Heisenberg in 1941 when Denmark was under German control. Being an amateur physics geek I've been intrigued by both men for years.

The play is beautiful--an exploration of the possibilities of what they talked about, of the possibilities in every life, interwoven and tied to Heisenberg's own Uncertainty Principle (as a note--people I know who are real physicists tend to be bothered by this application of a mathematical/scientific principle onto human behaviour--I've been trying to tie Kuhn's Paradigm shift to social interaction for years.)

The one false note was Bohr's wife played by a major player in Boston theater. I really didn't think whe was very good, and that was before she fumbled and ultimately lost a line and actually had to call for line!

John was good, but Will was effortless. Sometime ago I posted about my problem with theater and acting and Mirror wrote me an email talking about how Will LeBow is terrific from 5 feet away and from 500. He really is.

Interestingly, going back to The Good German for a moment, the questions of what we must do to survive and what we owe our country also came up. And Heisenberg too, spoke as Clooney's character does, of not believing the reports of Hiroshima when they came. That it could not be possible. Partially because it was unthinkable, but also because he himself had believed he had proved it impossible--or so one of the threads of the play woulld have us believe.

And he too described going home through a devestated Berlin at the end of the war.

If the German people "deserved it" for what they had allowed, then what do we deserve?

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