On View at Theater for the New City: Professor Douglas Lackey’s 'Arendt/Heidegger'

Professor Douglas Lackey (GC/Baruch, Philosophy), who began writing plays about 15 years ago because he was dissatisfied with the offerings of the New York theaters at the time, has a new play on performance at Theater for the New City, a leading off-off-Broadway theater.
 

Arendt/Heidegger: A Love Story by GC Professor Douglas Lackey. Alyssa Simon plays Hannah Arendt. Joris Stuyck plays Martin Heidegger. Photo by Jonathan Slaff.

The play, Arendt/Heidegger: A Love Story, explores the unlikely relationship between Hannah Arendt, a political theorist and a philosophical thinker, and Martin Heidegger, a German philosopher who went on to become a leading supporter of Adolf Hitler. Even as Arendt became a Zionist and Heidegger became a Nazi in the 1930s, their friendship continued.
 
Arendt/Heidegger,” Lackey wrote in his description of the play, “probes more deeply into the affair by presenting sides of Heidegger as Arendt saw them: the charismatic teacher, the intriguing student of the human condition, the lover of art and poetry. Arendt connected with Heidegger, physically, emotionally, intellectually. This is a story of a woman in love, no ordinary woman, and no ordinary affair.”
 
Lackey met Arendt in 1968, and is the author of her entry in the Encyclopedia of War and Peace. Like many philosophers, he has for decades been fascinated by the “Heidegger Question”—“how such a brilliant man could throw his lot in with the Nazis,” he said.
 
Writing this play gave him the opportunity to explore this mystery. “Philosophical problems cannot be solved,” Lackey said. “But they can be dramatized.”
 
In addition to introducing elements of Heidegger’s philosophy, “the play also explores the possibility that Heidegger’s decision to join the Nazi party and tout Hitler was self-serving,” the theater posted on its website. “This begs comparison with the determination of so many conservative ideologues, who previously denounced Donald Trump, to support him. History does not repeat, but it instructs. We are living in a time when autocratic nationalism and open racism (both genuine and opportunistic) are re-emerging.”
 
Lackey’s first play, Kaddish in East Jerusalem, was presented at Theater for the New City in 2003. The theater also presented his subsequent plays, Daylight Precision and A Garroting in Toulouse.
 
Arendt/Heidegger continues through October 14.

Submitted on: OCT 10, 2018

Category: Faculty | General GC News