Jerusalem, 1192. The Third Crusade is over. An uneasy stalemate masquerading as peace exists between the Muslim forces of Saladin and the Christian Crusaders. Caught in the middle of this conflict are the Jews, particularly Nathan. He is a merchant with wisdom, wit and wealth, but is he shrewd enough to guide all sides to a new world where reason rules?
Audiences can find out during the University of Houston School of Theatre & Dance’s staged reading of Gotthold Lessing’s “Nathan the Wise.”
The reading will begin at 7 p.m., Feb. 6 in UH’s Lyndall Finley Wortham Theatre. Admission is free. Reservations can be made by calling 713-743-3003. Graduate actors from the School of Theatre & Dance will deliver the reading of “Nathan The Wise.” It will be directed by guest artist Gus Kaikkonen.
Lessing’s 1779 plea for religious tolerance was forbidden in his lifetime and banned by the Nazis. This version has been updated by veteran Texas educator Charles R. Jeffries and his former student and UH alumna L.L. Brumfield. They leave Lessing’s iambic pentameter behind, pump up the action and concentrate on the richness of the play’s wisdom and humor.
Kaikkonen returns for his fourth University of Houston directing assignment having helmed “Paradise Hotel” in 2013, “The Crucible” in 2012 and “Wild Oats” in 2011. Following the play, he will participate in a talkback alongside Jeffries and Brumfield.
The UH School of Theatre & Dance offers bachelor’s and master's degrees in theatre and teacher certifications in dance and theatre. Its graduate program consists of a Master of Arts in theatre and Master of Fine Arts in theatre with specializations in acting, technical production and design. Alumni include actors Jim Parsons, Dennis Quaid, Brett Cullen, Robert Wuhl and Dylan Paul. Faculty includes Tony Award-winning producer Stuart Ostrow, Tony-nominated designer Kevin Rigdon and award-winning playwright and screenwriter Theresa Rebeck. Among the greats who have taught at the school are Sidney Berger, Edward Albee, Lanford Wilson, Mark Medoff, Sir Peter Hall, Jose Quintero, Patsy Swayze and Cecil Pickett. In 2012 and 2013, the school was named “Best College Theater” in the Houston Press Theater Awards. For details on UH's School of Theatre & Dance, visit www.theatredance.uh.edu.