Prior to 1938, St. Polten’s Jewish community had 577 members. Among them, 321 people were killed in the Holocaust, 214 people managed to escape, and the fate of 42 others is still unknown.
The new play “Nathan 575” recreates the voices of these former citizens of the state capital and the surrounding area and tells about their lives. These theatrical works were collected by state stage playwright Julia Engelmayr, who has researched in the archives and in the anthology of Christoph Lind from the Institute of Jewish History in Austria.
Thus, the audience learns, for example, the life story of Olga Wellner from St. Polten, who was forced to flee to the Far East and live in exile in China.
A mixture of reality and literature
In the plot, director duo Ludwig Wüst and Maja Savic blend these true events with the thought-provoking drama of Gotthold E. Lessing’s “Nathan the Wise” and put his stories like The Tale of the Ring or Temple Lord into dialogue with the voices of Jewish eyewitnesses. In this way, the urgency of Lessing’s ideals of tolerance and enlightenment should be made more clear.
In order to keep the pace of the narration in two levels of dynamic action and to make the transitions as natural as possible, Helmut T-Stepch accompanies the performance with an accordion.
Theatrical Action celebrates its premiere Friday, May 27, at 7:30 p.m. in the former synagogue. In the fall, the director duo are planning the premiere of their analogue film “I’m Here”, which was shot in Lower Austria.
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