The Wise Man Knows by Ivan Phillips
14 April 2012
Also performed at the Sawston and Haynes festivals and to the Wyndham Lewis Society.
‘The fool doth think he is wise,
but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.’
Shakespeare, As You Like It.
The Settlement Players entry in the RSC’s Open Stages project, which “aims to embrace, develop and celebrate amateur theatre”.
Following a call for Shakespeare-themed pieces, the Settlement Players’ Ivan Phillips, wrote and directed a new one act play, The Wise Man Knows.
With a chorus featuring the three witches from Macbeth (as you’ve never seen them before!), the play explores themes of greatness, nationalism, politics, creativity and history through a Shakespearean lens.
Set in 1931, the play is based around the meeting between the artist and writer Wyndham Lewis and a London based member of the Nazi party, Dr Hans Wilhelm Thost. Lewis, co-founder of the vorticist movement, had visited Germany in 1930 and written a book representing Hitler as ‘a man of peace’. The only record of what was discussed during the meeting are a few references in Lewis’s anti Hitler book, The Hitler Cult, published in 1939. This publication was too late to save Wyndham Lewis’ reputation.