February 2002

Starting "Science" With a Bang

The "science" section of our series "Arts and Sciences" starts with a bang Tuesday, February 19 when we discuss a "dazzling" play that "uses science as a source of moral debate" (Guardian). "Copenhagen" (1998), by Michael Frayn, depicts alternate versions of a mysterious 1941 meeting that may have determined the race to build the first atom bomb. Niels Bohr & Werner Heisenberg--famous physicists & close friends, one half-Jewish, the other a German nationalist: why did they meet in occupied Copenhagen, & what made them part in anger & bitterness? Winner of the 2000 Tony Award, "brilliant" (Chicago Tribune), "witty" (New York Times) & "wonderful" (New York Post), "Copenhagen" is also "moving" (Washington Post), "haunting" (Newsday), & "elegantly literate" (Christian Science Monitor)--a "towering achievement" (Nation).

Our discussion will feature physicist Maurice Shapiro. Dr. Shapiro earned his B.S. & Ph.D. from Footlights co-sponsor the University of Chicago.  During World War II he served as group leader on the Manhattan Project, where he worked with Niels Bohr to develop the first atom bomb. We have also invited Dr. Vilhelm Bohr, Niels Bohr's grandson. Dr. Bohr received his M.D. & Ph.D. from the University of Copenhagen, worked as research scholar at Footlights co-sponsor Stanford University, & serves on the board of  the Niels Bohr Archive. 

We'll meet 7:30-9:30 at Stanford in Washington, 2661 Connecticut Ave., NW, across the street from Woodley Park metro. Stanford in Washington will not provide food, but nearby restaurants have take-out. If you'll bring dinner please arrive by 7. Doors open at 6:15.

To attend our February meeting you MUST have a reservation, which you can get ONLY by calling 202-898-4825 or e-mailing [email protected]. Make sure you speak to someone or get a reply e-mail; don't just leave a message. We expect to have a long waiting list. The charms of "Copenhagen" await at Backstage Books, 545 8th St., SE, &--for a special Footlights discount--at Politics & Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave., NW, & Olsson's Books & Records, 1307 19th St., NW, & 7647 Old Georgetown Rd., Bethesda.

An Explosive Performance

On Thursday, March 7, Footlights will attend "Copenhagen" at the Kennedy Center's Eisenhower Theater. This is the same production the San Francisco Chronicle found "vivid" & "exciting" & the Los Angeles Times called "eloquent" & "just right." A cast discussion starts at 6 p.m. & the performance itself at 7:30. Our prime orchestra seats are $38 ($30 for performance only). Mail your check to Robin Larkin, 5403 Nibud Ct., Rockville, MD 20852 (240-669-6300 & [email protected]). Call first; we might be sold out. We need your check by February 1, also the refund deadline. Robin will distribute tickets March 7, some at 5:30-6 p.m. & the rest at 7-7:30 p.m., in the KenCen's Grand Foyer, in front of the Eisenhower Theater steps (look for her "Footlights" badge).

More "Copenhagen"

On Saturday, March 2, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Baird Auditorium at the National Museum of Natural History will host a free symposium, "'Copenhagen' in Washington." The organizers do not currently plan to issue tickets, so get there early. For more information call 212-817-7521 or e-mail [email protected].

"Fun" with "Physicists"

"Copenhagen" isn't the first play to ask if scientists should build weapons of mass destruction. "The Physicists" (1962), by Swiss playwright Friedrich Durrenmatt, takes place in an insane asylum, where three scientists suffer--or feign--madness amidst the quest for a weapon that could destroy the world. "Intelligent" & "off-beat" (New York Daily News), "fascinating" (New York Post) & "fun" (New York Journal American), "The Physicists" "amuses and excites" (Nation) with "dark [and] savage irony" (New York Times). We'll discuss "The Physicists" on Wednesday, March 13, with Professor Roger Crockett, head of the German & Russian department at Washington & Lee University & author of "Understanding Friedrich Durrenmatt" (1998).

Meeting Calendar

Tuesday, February 19: "Copenhagen," Stanford in Washington
Wednesday, March 13: "The Physicists," Cafe Midi Cuisine
Thursday, April 18: "Blithe Spirit," Delray Viet Gdn
Monday, May 13: "The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds," Cafe Midi Cuisine

all Footlights meetings run from 7:30-9:30 p.m., with dinner from 6:30-7:30.

More Information

For more information about Footlights, check our website,  You can subscribe to our list & receive our monthly e-letter for free by sending any message--even blank--to [email protected]. Footlights relies on contributions. Send your check to John Glynn, 3741 Yorktown Village Pass, Annandale, VA 22003.