Nathan the Wise, an 18th-century morality play by the German writer and scholar Gotthold Ephraim Lessing will be shown in Kaunas with English translation. Presented by Kaunas National Drama Theatre, the production directed by Gintaras Varnas is starring most talented Lithuanian theatre actors of different generations.
“When I was offered to direct the play, I was reluctant as it’s a huge, immense work. Then I started to question my initial decision, and then we got support from local and international partners. It’s an 18th century play, from the period which I didn’t study extensively, so it was interesting to learn more. The curiosity drew me into it”, says Varnas.
The play will transport the audience into the 12th century Jerusalem – the place, which became a field of war between the great world religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. It is a utopia, telling a tale of a man who had a magical ring. Whoever wore the ring was followed by God’s grace and glory. The ring was always passed from one generation to another to the most beloved son in the family. Once, however, it ended up in the hands of a man who had three sons whom he loved equally. The man could not make up his mind to whom he should give the ring. Before his death, he went to see the jeweler and asked him to make two more such rings. Then he secretly gave a ring to each of his sons and passed away. When the sons saw that all of them had rings, they began quarreling and arguing. Which ring is the real one? Which two are worthless copies? Who is destined to become the chosen one? Three religions – Judaism, Christianity, Islam – even nowadays try to prove that only one of them is true and fair.
The play is as relevant to our times as ever, speaking about the conflicts that roil the world today. “Nathan the Wise”, a Utopian tale of the Age of Enlightenment (18th century), exalts the human mind and its power to make the world prefect and tries to convince us that the three sons – three religions – can live in peace and harmony.
According to the director of the play, Gintaras Varnas, it is important to focus on similarities rather than differences between us: “The only true religion is love. We all in this world belong to the same family”.
Nathan the Wise with English subtitles will be shown at 6 pm on Tuesday, 9 October. More about the production here.
Tickets are available here.