Friedman and Strathairn Are Arendt and Heidegger in Off-Broadway's Hannah and Martin, March 20

News   Friedman and Strathairn Are Arendt and Heidegger in Off-Broadway's Hannah and Martin, March 20 Melissa Friedman will play historian and author Hannah Arendt, and David Strathairn will be her philosopher-lover Martin Heidegger, in Hannah and Martin, a new play by Kate Fodor, getting its New York premiere March 20 at the Manhattan Ensemble Theatre.

Performances of the Epic Theatre Center production production run through April 25. Ron Russell will direct a cast which also includes Laura Hicks, Teri Lamm, George Morfogen, Sandra Shipley, and James Wallert.

Arendt, born in Germany, was part of New York intellectual circles in the '40s and '50s. The thrust of much of her studies was the place of Jews in the larger world, with a specific focus on World War II and the Holocaust. Her 1951 work "The Origins of Totalitarianism" is considered a classic study of its type. Her 1963 book "Eichmann in Jerusalem" covered the trial of the former Nazi and is famous for coining the phrase "the banality of evil."

Arendt met Heidegger, one of the foremost philosophers of the 20th century, in Germany in 1924, when he was a 35-year-old married professor at the University of Freiburg and Arendt was a first-year student. Their affair began a year later. The relationship continued through 1933—the year Arendt fled to France, and when Heidegger became a member of the Nazi Party, announcing that "the Führer and he alone is the present and future German reality and law."

Strathairn last appeared on the New York stage in the Broadway production of Oscar Wilde's Salome (dubbed "the reading," which also featured Al Pacino) and, before that, Dance of Death. Off Broadway, he's been seen in Hapgood and Stranger.

Tickets are $40. Call (212) 279-4200. *

A series of heady post-performance forums will be held. They run as follows:

April 1 at 8 PM: Joanna Scott, Author of Hannah Arendt Discovers America; Ira Katznelson, Professor of Political Science and History, Columbia University and author of "Desolation and Enlightenment: Political Knowledge After Total War, Totalitarianism and the Holocaust"

April 2 at 8 PM: Richard Wolin, author of "Heidegger’s Children"

April 4 at 3 PM: Former Arendt students Jerome Kohn, Director of the Hannah Arendt Center; Richard Bernstein, president of the New School Graduate Program; Elisabeth Young Bruehl, author of "Hannah Arendt: For the Love of the World"; Selya Banhabib, Professor of Ethics, Political Science and Philosophy, Yale University

April 8 at 8 PM: Joanna Scott, Author of "Hannah Arendt Discovers America"; David Kettler, Scholar-in-Residence at Bard College and author of "Political Theory and Hitler’s Regime"; Alan Rosenberg, Professor of Philosophy, Queens College, and author of "Heidegger and the Holocaust"

April 11 at 3 PM: Martin Puchner, Columbia University Department of English and Comparative Literature

April 18 at 3 PM: Christa Acampora, Professor of Philosophy, Hunter College/CUNY Grad Center and teacher of annual class on Heidegger