Hope College Theatre will present "Nathan the Wise" by German playwright and philosopher Gotthold Ephraim Lessing on Wednesday-Saturday, April 26-29, in the DeWitt Center main theatre.

          The performance on Thursday, April 27, will start
  at 9 p.m.  The other three performances will be at 8 p.m.
          Set in 12th-century Jerusalem during the period of
  the Crusades, the play portrays a utopian dream world of
  sorts where Christian, Jew and Muslim meet and confront
  certain conflicts.  The resolution of the conflicts is at
  the heart of the play.
          As a portrait of idealized humanity and religious
  tolerance, the play has occasionally been banned, including
  under the National Socialists in Germany.  When Lessing
  wrote the play in 1779, he himself had recently been
  officially forbidden from further publishing the theological
  pamphlets that had been stirring up religious controversy.
  Lessing then turned the decreed silencing into the "dramatic
  poem," as he subtitled it, "Nathan the Wise."
          Playing the title role will be guest artist
  Michael Page, well-known in West Michigan as both an actor
  and director.  Page has a long list of credits with Grand
  Rapids theatres, Boars Head Theatre in Lansing and
  Peterborough Players in Vermont.  He has worked as a guest
  artist with the Hope theatre program on two previous
  occasions, and has spent several seasons with Hope Summer
  Repertory Theatre.  Last year he was a visiting professor of
  theatre at Hope, when he directed "The Winter's Tale," and
  earlier this year he appeared in "Translations" as a guest
  artist at Calvin College.
          "Nathan the Wise" is being directed by Daina
  Robins, associate professor of theatre at Hope and chair of
  the department.  She notes that she is pleased that Page is
  part of the production team.
          "I can't imagine tackling this difficult play
  without Michael as Nathan at its core," she said.  "His
  presence models professional discipline, creativity and
  commitment to our students, and he is a wonderful acting
  partner/teacher/collaborator for them all."
          The rest of the cast consists of student actors:
  junior Michelle Rynbrandt of Clio as Rachel; junior David
  Romero of Grand Rapids as Saladin; senior Christopher
  Mahlmann of Tiffin, Ohio, as the Patriarch; sophomore Blaine
  M. Cook of Niles as Siitah; sophomore Joshua M. Carstens of
  Libertyville, Ill., as the Friar; senior Kara Lee Burk of
  Rochester Hills as Daja; freshman Peter Beck of Manila, the
  Philippines, as the Templar; and sophomore Patrick Glaub of
  Plymouth, Ind., as Al-Hafi.
          Scenic and properties design is by senior Katie
  Drop, a theatre major from Iowa City, Iowa.  She is working
  under the tutelage of resident scenic designer Richard
  Smith, who is also serving as props master.  Associate
  professors Michelle Bombe and Perry Landes are in charge of
  costume/make-up and lighting/sound design respectively.
          Tickets are $7 for regular adult admission, and $4
  for senior citizens and students, and are on sale at the
  theatre lobby ticket office, which is open Monday through
  Friday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Saturday from noon
  until 5 p.m., and until curtain time on the four performance
          The ticket office can be called at (616) 395-7890.
  The DeWitt Center is located on Columbia Avenue at 12th