Hannah’s Turn (Snap Productions) 2011 SummerWorks Review

Hannah’s Turn explores the relationship of Hannah Arendt and Martin Heidegger. It’s a typical love story of a teacher and a student. The twist is that Arendt is Jewish and Heidegger is a card-carrying Nazi. The Goeth- Institut and SummerWorks cooperate towards bringing this play to stage.

Arendt (Severn Thompson) was seven years younger than Heidegger (Richard Clarkin). Both are regarded as important philosophers of the 20th Century. Both Thompson and Clarkin are important 21st Century Canadian actors.

Thompson is particularly intriguing. At times she is Heidegger’s sex-kitten straight out of an early Madonna music video. Other times she is a professor lecturing a young student about what it means to be Jewish. She is extremely convincing throughout Hannah’s Turn.

Clarkin does a great job making Heidegger come across almost as sleazy as Adam Giambrone. He makes it easy to picture Heidegger as a womanizer.  I felt that Heidegger was more concerned with his sexual conquests than philosophy, fighting Fascism or even his wife. This is a person who had extra-marital affairs with two Jewish women while being a card-carrying Nazi.

In short, Clarkin portrays Heidegger as a textbook Machiavellian.

Leora Morris plays Eva Hitshanova. Being young and naive, I could relate to this character. Being Canadian, I can relate to geese and people like Norman Bethune. I find it difficult to sympathize or even understand with people like Martin Heidegger or goose stepping.

That being said, this play is very successful. It’s a pleasure to see great acting.  It’s also necessary to question and re-examine one’s core beliefs continually and have fun. As my father-in-law recently reminded me, “It’s a complicated world.”


Hannah’s Turn is playing at Lower Ossington Theatre, 100A Ossington Avenue (north of Queen)

Thursday August 4th 7:00 PM
Friday August 5th 4:30 PM
Sunday August 7th  4:30 PM
Tuesday August 9th  7:00 PM
Friday August 12th  7:00 PM
Saturday August 13th 4:30 PM

– All individual SummerWorks tickets are $15 at the door (cash only). Tickets are available online at www.artsboxoffice.ca, by phone at 416.504.7529, in person at the Arts Box Office (located at Theatre Passe Muraille, 16 Ryerson Ave., One block North East of Bathurst & Queen W. M-F 12PM-7PM, Weekends 10AM-8PM) (Advance tickets are $15 +HST and $1 service fee)
– Several money-saving passes are available if you plan to see at least 3 shows