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Edward Kemp's version of Gotthold Ephraim Lessing's

Nathan The Wise

May 25th - October 19thStudio TheatreTicket Info
Generally Positive Reviews based on 6 Critics
  • mid 49% of shows in the 2019 season
6 Reviews

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This is a listing for the 2019 season. For the current 2023 shows click here.

Capital Critics' Circle - Barbara Gabriel

Flacks miscast?

“In the title role, Diane Flacks delivers a finely modulated performance that rises to the occasion in the play’s scenes of dramatic intensity. Does the gendered cross-casting succeed in adding layers of new meaning to the play? Arguably, it is of a piece with the play of differences across the text and the central lesson that we are all related in a common humanity – as well as not quite what we seem. Yet, her appearance as Nathan is less theatrical drag or gender-blind casting, than conspicuously “visible” as a slight young woman in an overcoat several times too large, with the gestures of a European ghetto Jew, and a half-hearted attempt at a grizzled beard.

Flacks is a talented performer and sometimes brilliant comedian, but she may well be miscast in a role that requires gravitas rather than the quiet charm she exudes in the role.”

Read Full Review09/08/2019

Broadway World - Lauren Gienow

The entire cast is excellent

“The entire cast of this production is excellent, each actor doing well to flesh out their character to a point where everyone’s humanity can be explored. Whether a character is Jewish, Muslim, or Christian, each one is seeking connection and family. It’s the similarities between these characters that are highlighted, along with the fact that those similarities are sometimes only found when someone takes the time to truly consider another person’s point of view.”

Read Full Review06/24/2019

The Globe and Mail - J. Kelly Nestruck

A transcendent central performance

“…characters of different backgrounds essentially getting along is not a particularly gripping narrative. Well, outside of Come From Away, anyway, of which an early scene of interfaith prayer that Duarte has added in briefly reminds…

What Nathan the Wise does have at Stratford is a transcendent central performance by Flacks in her Stratford debut; the Toronto-based actor is known primarily for performing in her own plays, such as Unholy (a more recent and relevant play about religion).

Her luminous, feeling Nathan is as wily as he is wise, and she does a wonderful job of dramatizing the way he wields his “wisdom” in self-defence.

Two other notable Stratford debuts: Miranda Calderon, who turns the somewhat sidelined character of Saladin’s sister into a fascinating figure even when she’s just observing; and Ehman as the short-tempered Knight Templar, feisty throughout.”

Read Full Review06/17/2019

The Stratford Beacon Herald - Geoff Dale

Irreverence, pragmatism and even a...

“The bold move of casting Diane Flacks as Nathan, still playing the character as a man, is a particularly gratifying aspect of the Stratford production that pays off on several levels. An acclaimed solo artist with experience as a queer artist and comedian, she succeeds in adding unique elements of irreverence, pragmatism and even a touch of femininity to her interpretation of a role usually reserved for men.

Read Full Review06/17/2019

Stage Door - Christopher Hoile

A healing balm in these times of...

“With her wrinkle-free skin, her short grey-sprayed haircut and a fake beard that makes it look as if it is Nathan’s first-ever attempt to grow one, Flacks looks and sounds like a teenaged actor giving her best shot at playing and old man, something one might expect at a high school production, but not at the largest classical theatre festival in North America….

The finest performance in the play is that of Jakob Ehman as Conrad, the Knight Templar. Conrad is the play’s most conflicted character and Ehman demonstrates clearly that it is Conrad’s inner turmoil rather than his natural disposition that has made him seem so anti-social…

The clarity with which Lessing expresses humanistic ideals feels like a healing balm in these times of invective and distrust. If only Stratford had presented a more straightforward production, the power of Nathan the Wise would have been even greater. Yet, as it is, it is powerful enough.”

Read Full Review06/17/2019

Toronto Star - Carly Maga

An almost farcical network of...

“Flacks’ Nathan is warm, gentle and, you guessed it, wise; but thankfully not impervious to criticism.

Part of the reason that Lessing’s play continues to work today is that it resists the impulse to make its characters unrealistic moral symbols — instead they appear either as flawed but impassioned people or aspirational in their open-mindedness and tolerance.”

Read Full Review06/18/2019

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