Lessing’s Enlightenment drama begins with a seemingly dystopian setting. Nathan, a Jewish merchant, returns from a trip to find that his house has burned down and lays in ashes. Thanks to the help of a Christian Templar, his daughter Recha was able to escape the fire.
The political situation in 12th Century Jerusalem is tense. The truce, negotiated during the Third Crusade, threatens to collapse. Christians, Muslims and Jews face each other, apparently irreconcilable in the question of “the only true religion”.
With the Ring Parable, Nathan tries to find a conciliatory answer. It is a plea for tolerance, humanity and peaceful coexistence – and, over the 240 years since the drama was written, it has lost none of its relevance.
It features parallels with the Persian legend of the amphibian bird from Wajdi Mouawad’s successful play, BIRDS OF A KIND, that Stefan Bachmann staged in four languages in 2019. Now, he continues the discussion on the meaning of identity and religion against the backdrop of familiar relationships. Will the budding love between Recha and the Templar befall the same fate as Wahida and Eitan in BIRDS OF A KIND?