A Noise Within (ANW), the acclaimed classical repertory theatre, presents a free staged reading of Michael Frayn’s Tony Award-winning play Copenhagen, which “soars at the intersection of art and science”

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A Noise Within (ANW), the acclaimed classical repertory theatre, presents a free staged reading of Michael Frayn’s Tony Award-winning play Copenhagen, which “soars at the intersection of art and science.” The reading is presented as part of the AxS Festival 2014, whose theme is Curiosity, and which takes place this fall in Pasadena. Please RSVP via phone to 626-356-3100 x1 to reserve your seat.

ANW’s General Manager Michael Bateman said, “A Noise Within is delighted to contribute to the Pasadena Arts Council AxS Festival. We are relatively new to the neighborhood (3 years and counting), but we know that Pasadena is, by reputation, a leader as a city of both arts and sciences. We were challenged to bring the disciplines together and honored that Pasadena artists and scientists have found this project to be a worthy venture. Copenhagen as part of the AxS Festival reaffirms our commitment as a contributor to Pasadena’s rich cultural landscape – we feel lucky to be here.”

In 1941 the German physicist Werner Heisenberg made a clandestine trip to Copenhagen to see his Danish counterpart and friend Niels Bohr. Their work together on quantum mechanics and the uncertainty principle revolutionized atomic physics. Why did Heisenberg go to Copenhagen? What did he want to say to his friend and colleague now that they were on opposite sides of a world conflagration?

In Michael Frayn’s daring play the long-dead protagonists Heisenberg, Bohr, and Bohr’s wife Margrethe meet again to debate physics and politics, navigating the human shoals of love and betrayal while cautiously dancing toward the detonation of the fission bomb. Frayn bravely dives into the world of Quantum Mechanics and Relativity — a world where observers and observations shape reality itself — in a search for answers to a very BIG QUESTION: what really happened during that fateful conversation of 1941?

Directed by Robertson Dean and performed by A Noise Within’s resident company, this will be a very special evening of fact and fiction.  Noted Caltech physicist and television commentator Sean Carroll offers an engaging, pre-show mini-lecture on the origins of the universe—and makes quantum physics understandable to the rest of us.  Following the reading of the Tony-Award-winning play, join the case and director for a spirited talk back on Copenhagen’s topical themes.

Sean Carroll, a theoretical physicist at the California Institute of Technology, received his Ph.D. in 1993 from Harvard University. His research focuses on fundamental physics and cosmology, especially issues of dark matter, dark energy, spacetime symmetries, and the origin of the universe. Recently, Carroll has worked on the foundations of quantum mechanics, the arrow of time, and the emergence of complexity. He is the author of “The Particle at the End of the Universe,” “From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time,” and the textbook “Spacetime and Geometry: An Introduction to General Relativity.” He frequently consults for film and television, and has been featured on shows such as The Colbert Report, PBS’s Nova, and Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman.


AxS [ak-sis] is a two-week, citywide festival produced by the Pasadena Arts Council.  The Festival explores the nexus of artistic and scientific inquiry, promoting experimentation and cross-fertilization between these disciplines. It is our conviction that the interplay between human curiosity, scientific investigation and artistic risk-taking reflects a cultural zeitgeist that not only defines Pasadena as the City of Art and Science, but also illuminates the richness, diversity, and sheer innovation of human aspiration and achievement in the 21st century.

In Fall 2014, Pasadena Arts Council presents the sixth AxS Festival, a proving ground where ideas, scientific theories and leading-edge technologies converge with artistic innovation across a multidisciplinary platform of architecture, new media, visual art, music, theater, educational programs and provocative conversation. The AxS Festival is a response to our contemporary cultural condition — a concentrated exploration designed to ignite and inspire the imagination of audiences and participants alike.

In addition to A Noise Within, organizations presenting events during the festival include: About Productions, Armory Center for the Arts, Art Center College of Design, Caltech, Carnegie Observatories, Descanso Gardens, Gamble House, Huntington Library, Kidspace Children’s Museum, KPCC 89.3, Muse/ique, NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena Arts Council, Pasadena Conservatory of Music, Pasadena Master Chorale, Pasadena Playhouse, Pasadena Pro Musica and Shumei Arts Council.

AxS Festival is a collaboration of the Pasadena Arts Council and its presenting partners, produced by Pasadena Arts Council with major funding provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, Los Angeles County Arts Commission, the City of Pasadena, and GuestHaus Residency.

About A Noise Within

A Noise Within, founded in 1991, is among the country’s pre-eminent presenters of classical theatre and is the leading presenter of these plays in Southern California. The company’s mission is to produce world-class performances of the great works of drama in rotating repertory with a resident company; to educate and inspire the public through programs that foster an understanding and appreciation of history’s great plays and playwrights; and to train the next generation of classical theatre artists.

Originally based in a former Masonic Temple in Glendale, the company moved to its present home—a building of architectural distinction designed by Edward Durrell Stone of Kennedy Center fame—in 2011. Helmed by Producing Artistic Directors Geoff Elliott and Julia Rodriguez-Elliott, who hold MFAs from San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theatre, A Noise Within delivers a seven-show repertory season and a wide range of educational programs to diverse audiences from Los Angeles County and well beyond.  Voted “Best Theatre” by readers of both Time Out Los Angeles and Pasadena Weekly, A Noise Within is indeed “California’s Home for the Classics.”

Calendar Listing: Copenhagen

Copenhagen by Michael Frayn, directed by Robertson Dean
Monday, September 29 at 7PM
At A Noise Within, 3352 East Foothill Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91107

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