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'Nathan the Wise'

April 10, 1993

Ray Loynd may be competent enough to write about productions of forgettable contemporary plays, but he is totally out of his depth in reviewing the "obscure German classic 'Nathan the Wise' " by Lessing ("Revival of German Classic at Harman," March 19). Obscure indeed--just as obscure as Diderot, Fielding, Goldoni, Wieland and the other great spirits of the Era of Enlightenment. If this world is as foreign to a critic as it obviously is to Loynd, the famous tale of the three rings will be "too childlike," the characters "stickboard," the play "a curiosity piece."

Loynd even fails in the first and basic task of a drama critic: to report the action of a play clearly and accurately. According to him, Nathan "gives a Christian knight permission to marry his daughter." The last quarter of the play turns around the surprising fact that Nathan does not give that permission, and for a good reason: The young lovers are brother and sister. THEODORE FRONT

Los Angeles

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