Copenhagen

Hello, blog-o-sphere!

I’ve never blogged before, so please be gentle!

So, we’ve rehearsed “Copenhagen” for two weeks. Very exciting. It’s my first time at the ART, so I’m quite nervous and of course want all to go well. It’s a gigantic play, the collision between Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg during WWII. I’m to play Heisenberg, the tousled-haired bad boy of German atomic psychics.

Will and Karen play the Bohrs. So exciting to be working with them both. I think the last time we were on stage together was 12th Night, on the Boston Common, which is now, yipes, 7 years ago!

Will and I do an “audio comic strip” (whatever that is!) on NPR called “11 Central Ave.”, so we get to play together sometimes, but that’s more of a voice over sort of experience.

Karen and I were in this really great play together at Boston Playwrights a few years back called “Infestation”. We were an incestuous mother/son dealing with a nasty bug problem and a malevolent exterminator. I think about 3 people saw it.

Now we go away for awhile, which is unusual (more often, the play is rehearsed straight into opening night), but I am thankful for the break, as it gives us all a chance to memorize lines. This is, probably, one of the most daunting plays to memorize that I’ve yet encountered. It repeats itself, like Beckett, but there’s also all the quantum psychics, which can seem like another language at times.

I have a recording of the lines on my iPod, and I listen to a single passage over and over again while I’m at the gym on one of those elliptical torture machines, just trying to drill it in. I always like to get the book out of my hands as soon as possible, because I love having the freedom to move.

Right now it’s a little surreal, being away from rehearsal. I miss Karen and Will and Scott. One of the things I love about theatre is the collaboration. It’s not one of those lonely art forms, like writing (which I also enjoy, but writing is about being alone with your thoughts and a blank screen staring at you.)

Kind of strange having this time to study lines, think about the role away, on my own.

The play is always somewhere in the back of my mind.

Hiesenberg’s son was at Harvard, talking about the play, so Will and I went to see him.

The address we were given was incorrect, so Will and I kept walking around the square, trying to find out where we were supposed to be. It was a very Bohr/Heisenberg moment.

We find the talk location. Heisenberg’s son is quite striking. Lots of hair and these bright, piercing eyes.

We are introduced to each other, and when he was told that I’m to play his father, he replied, in a thick German accent: “Well, you got his hair.”

We had actually discovered this a few days before: Heisenberg’s hair tended to stick straight up in air. Sort of an Einstein look, which I guess was the fashion in science back then.

I’ll talk about what his son said in his lecture a bit later. Must sign off for now!

Thanks for reading,

-John

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