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Intellect

"Nathan the Wise" at BYU's Pardoe Theatre examines religious misunderstanding

Brigham Young University's Department of Theatre and Media Arts will present "Nathan the Wise," a German masterpiece about intense religious misunderstanding set against the backdrop of the Crusades, written in 1779 by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing and translated by Edward Kemp.

Performances run Wednesday, Sept. 22, through Saturday, Oct. 9, at 7:30 p.m. in the Pardoe Theatre with no evening performances Sept. 25 and Oct. 2. Matinee performances are Sept. 25 and Oct. 9 at 2 p.m. There will be no performances Sundays or Mondays.

Tickets are available through the Fine Arts Ticket Office at (801) 378-4322 or at cfac.byu.edu/pe for $12, with $3 off with a student or faculty ID.

Although the play takes place during the Crusades, the focus is not on the battle scenes, but on the inner conflict the characters face regarding acceptance and understanding of other religions.

Nathan, a Jewish debt collector who lives in 12th-century Jerusalem, faces the eternal question of which religion God would have for man--Judaism, Christianity or Islam--when he is confronted by a Muslim sultan who has power over his life and a Christian knight who loves his daughter.

"'Nathan the Wise' exemplifies the adage that 'the essence of drama is conflict,'" said Bob Nelson, director of the play. "Situated in the eerily quiet eye of a deadly storm, the characters in this dramatic fable are literally surrounded by urgent and conflicting demands."

"Most of the play happens on a distinctly personal level, raising distinctly pertinent questions," he said.

Nathan is played by visiting BYU-Hawaii professor Craig Ferre. He exchanged faculty slots with BYU's David Morgan and is on campus for one semester. Other cast members include Billy Gunn, Elisa Eames, Megan Pugmire, Amelia Schow, John Holbrook, Matthew Haws, Matthew Hill and Mark Nelson.

The production team includes composer, music director and conductor Murray Boren, scenic designer Eric Fielding, costume designer Morelia Diaz, lighting designer Frank Fults, production stage manager Rebecca Hixson and dramaturges Billy Gunn and Matthew Hill.

For more information, contact Bob Nelson, (801) 422-3406.

Writer: Rebekah Hanson

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