Faculty of English presents...

    Nathan the Wise
    By Gotthold Ephraim Lessing

    20:00, Wed 5th – Sat 8th March 2014 at Judith E. Wilson Drama Studio
    Lent Week 7

    'A seminal piece of world drama written in 1779 and banned by the Nazis in 1933, its theme speaks urgently and forcefully to us today.’ (Michael Billington, The Guardian)

    This expressionist-style production will explore several metatheatrical levels: It will set Lessing’s 1779 Enlightenment play, originally set in medieval Jerusalem during an armistice at the end of the Third Crusade, in a Berlin Café in the 1920’s. It seeks to renew Lessing’s appeal to intercultural understanding in the contemporary world by evoking the context of artistic innovation and internationalism in the Weimar Republic before its tragic demise. A group of 1920’s women intellectuals, poets, journalists, actors and dancers will rehearse their own performance of Nathan the Wise, including multilingual songs and poems. In this play-within-the play, Nathan will be performed by the poet Mascha Kaléko, Saladin will be performed by the poet and painter Else Lasker-Schüler, Recha will be performed by the young actress Marlene Dietrich, Daja will be performed by actress Anna May Wong, the Dervish Al Hafi will be performed by poet Sarojini Naidu, Sittah will be performed by performance artist, dancer, and writer Anita Berber, and the Templar Knight will be performed by journalist Sylvia von Harden.

    Contact Eva Urban on for reservations.


    Mascha Kaléko as NATHAN, a Jewish merchant
    Marlene Dietrich as RECHA, his adopted daughter
    Anita Berber as BONAFIDES, a Friar and SITTAH, Saladin’s sister
    Anna May Wong as DAJA, Recha’s Christian nurse
    Sylvia von Harden as CONRAD, a young Templar
    Sarojini Naidu as AL HAFI, a Dervish
    Else Lasker-Schüler as SALADIN, the Sultan and ATHANASIOS, the Patriarch

    Production Team

    Lighting Designer
    Assistant Director
    Lighting Assistant –
    Casting Assistant –
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