Michael Frayn’s play “Copenhagen, ” centering on a mysterious meeting between Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg during World War II, presents an endurance test both for its actors and its audience. Frayn’s undeniably erudite and witty script tosses out a cornucopia of scientific and historical information, all delivered by three actors who never leave the stage. It’s possible for a production to get bogged down in the morass of detail, as happened ultimately with Broadway in Chicago’s production of the play three years ago. TimeLine Theatre’s current staging keeps the play’s central questions in focus throughout: what did Heisenberg want from Bohr? Was Bohr’s angry dismissal of Heisenberg a blessing in disguise? Terry Hamilton’s Bohr, alternately gruff and generous, and Isabel Liss’s suspicious Margarethe bring Frayn’s dizzying reimaginations of the trio’s various encounters to life with vivid precision. As Heisenberg, Terry Hamilton is faced with an almost impossible challenge, playing continual variations on an enigma, and while he handles his task deftly, he remains as evasive toward the audience as toward himself. Frayn’s play, like Tom Stoppard’s “Jumpers,” attempts to find a dramatic form for the epistemological conundrums of the most difficult modern thought; TimeLine has staged a solid version, with occasional missteps, of this important contemporary work. (John Beer)
“Copenhagen” plays at TimeLine Theatre, 615 West Wellington, (773)281-8463, through October 9.