Wittenberg

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I just came back from Wittenberg, a play by David Davalos being premiered at the Arden Theater.

This is the marketing synopsis of the play:

Set during late October of 1517, this smart, sprightly and audacious battle of wits features university colleagues Dr. Faustus (a man of appetites), Martin Luther (a man of faith), and their student Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark (a youth struggling not only with his beliefs but also with his tennis game). Playwright David Davalos brings us the story behind the stories in a highly entertaining and accessible exploration of reason versus faith, starring Scott Greer as Faustus and Greg Wood as Luther.

It looked interesting enough for me to go, but I didn’t have particularly high expectations for it. I’ve had bad experiences with first-run productions, and despite the play being billed as a comedy, I was afraid it might be a little high-falutin’ and staid.

Boy was I wrong. It’s an extremely clever and smartly funny piece of work. If anything, it can come off as a little too clever and precious at times, wink-winking every five seconds or so. Nevertheless, I had a really great time and never felt even slightly drowsy over the two hour period.

I was also impressed because I had naturally assumed the playwright had a pretty good understanding of Hamlet and Dr. Faustus, but I was skeptical how deep a knowledge he had of Martin Luther and his theology. I’d have to say, however, that his portrayal of Luther’s apologetics was very fair. I’d encourage all of my friends, both sinners and saints, to go see it and, one might hope, discuss it with one another.

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