Behold The Man is a play that retells a critical period in the life of philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. In 1882, stricken with illness but alive with ideas, Nietzsche was introduced to Lou Salome by their mutual friend Dr. Paul Ree. The three shared their intellectual pursuits until love and jealousy interfered. Their falling out dealt a severe blow to Friedrich, who eventually succumbed to madness years later.
The play is written and produced by local writer Angelo Costanzo, directed by Jeff Santa Barbara, and stage managed by Timothy Mauch.
Shows run March 27 – 30. March 27 – 29 at 8 pm, March 30 at 2 pm
All performances at the Westside Concert Theatre (http://www.westsidelive.com/) 434 King St. West, Hamilton
Michael Hannigan – Friedrich Nietzsche
Nea Reid – Lou Salome
Julian Nicholson – Dr. Paul Ree
Kelly Kimpton – Elizabeth Nietzsche
Valeri Kay – Frau Nietzsche
Nietzsche was l’enfant terrible of philosophy.
While other philosophers were building beautiful systems ŗ la Hegel and Kant, Fritz was going around smashing everything with his wrecking ball. The nineteenth century was being rocked by Darwin, biblical exegesis and nihilists. While Nietzsche said “That which is falling we should also push” he was not a nihilist. He was nauseated by the putrefaction of rotting values. He didn’t think that the solution was the recycling of those values; rather, he wanted them taken to an incinerator and destroyed. Modern men and women needed new values worthy of courageous thinkers. Nietzsche was also a tragic figure ŗ la Van Gogh. The man who taught the world the Overman (a creature with Christ’s heart and Caesar’s brain), became a pathetic invalid who clung to his mother for safety and reassurance. His ideas, of course, dominated the twentieth century (Sartre, Heidegger, Camus, Beckett, Pirandello, Giacometti, Gide, etc.)
The play is made up of five characters: Nietzsche, Paul Rťe (a friend who’s not particularly comfortable in his own skin)), Lou Salomť (a possible disciple and love interest), Nietzsche’s sister Elizabeth (an ignorant selfish woman who married an anti-Semite, and who totally corrupted her brother’s philosophy after his mental collapse), and Nietzsche’s mother.
In his own lifetime he was unknown, unread, and unappreciated. The play picks up the story of his life in 1882, when he met the remarkable young woman by the name of Lou Salomť. The latter was twenty-one at the time, and would go on to become a good friend of Sigmund Freud and Anna Freud, a practicing psychoanalyst, and friend and lover of the poet Rainer Maria Rilke. The two had a very intense, albeit brief, relationship. Nietzsche hoped that Salomť would become a dedicated student and promoter of his ideas, but in this he was disappointed. He lived a sad and lonely life, and for the last ten years of his life became mentally incompetent and had to be cared for by his mother and sister.