Wednesday, February 8, 2012

"Nicht die Kinder bloß speist man mit Märchen ab"

 Last night I saw Lessing's play Nathan der Weise [Nathan the Wise] at the Berliner Ensemble. The play was written 1779, and is most famous for its "ring parable" about religious tolerance (the three religions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam), and general themes of humanism and enlightenment.

The director, Claus Peymann, said he chose to stage the play after September 11th, after hearing the rhetoric of revenge, fight against evil, and crusades. He understood this classic work to be the "voice of reason" that still needed to be heard. "Natürlich habe ich dieses Stück gewählt unter dem Eindruck dieser im September 2001 jählings ausgebrochenen Finsternis", erklärt Claus Peymann. "Es wird von Kreuzrittern gesprochen, von Revanche, von Rache, vom Kampf gegen das Böse, und da schien mir diese bedeutende Stimme der Vernunft aus dem brodelnden Topf der deutschen Klassik gerade die richtige Antwort." (source)

The staging was rather minimalist, and the characters were dressed in a way reminiscent of the crusades (when the play was originally set), mixed with more modern costumes. A few small critiques aside, I really enjoy the Berliner Ensemble. I paid 7 EUR (student discounted rate) for a ticket--which is about the price of going to a movie! And got to see amazing theater! 

Again, some favorite quotes:

Die Menschen sind nicht immer, was sie scheinen, aber selten etwas besseres. [People are not always what they seem, but they are seldom something better.]
Der Wunder höchstes ist, dass uns die wahren, echten Wunder so alltäglich werden können, werden sollen [The greatest miracle is that the true, real miracles can become--should become-- so commonplace to us.]
Es sind nicht alle frei, die ihrer Ketten spotten. [Not all who mock their chains are free.]
Kein Mensch muss müssen. [No man must must.]
Macht denn nur das Blut den Vater? [Is it only blood that makes the father?]
Nicht die Kinder bloß speist man mit Märchen ab. [Not only children can be fed fairy tales.  - hard to translate, it's more like "fended off" with stories...Nathan says this right before he tells the ring parable to the sultan]
Der Wille und nicht die Gabe macht den Geber. [Intention and not the gift makes the giver.]

1 comment:

  1. Katrine!!!!
    You have to have more than 7 days a week and more than 24 hours a day!!!!!
    Your most admiring Tante Marguerite