Institute History

  • 1996 Playwrights Lab


Domestic squabbles and jealousy create a rift in the relationship between Friedrich Nietzsche and his sister Elizabeth. Unable to cope with Friedrich’s lifestyle choices and belief system, Elizabeth opts to marry Bernhard Forster, a rabid anti-Semite bent on creating an Aryan colonial empire in the unforgiving jungles of Paraguay. Disgusted with her choice of a mate, the thwarted by his attempts to create a domestic situation suited to him, Friedrich embarks on a journey of solitude and philosophic exploration that culminates in his doom. Elizabeth, returning home after the colony’s failure, becomes caretaker for her mentally ill brother, and attempts the impossible: the reconciliation of her late husband’s and her brother’s world views. Assuming the role of executrix of Friedrich’s literary estate, Elizabeth succeeds in her endeavor, forever altering her brother’s role in world history, and achieving unprecedented fame as a female German literary figure. Inextricably bound by destiny, Elizabeth and Friedrich’s domestic affairs explode into historical misunderstanding and intellectual misinterpretation that continues through the present.


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