The Play  

The Wrestling Patient
Inspired by the Diaries and Letters of Etty Hillesum 1941-1943

Based on the true story of Etty Hillesum, a Dutch Jewish writer, this extraordinary new play chronicles Etty’s remarkable journey into the emerging science of psychology just as World War II engulfs her native Amsterdam and threatens her family. In the face of the hatred that encompassed every corner of her world, she sought inner liberation in the final two years of her life before her death at Auschwitz at the age of 29. An ensemble of seven actors brings to life Etty’s secret history of musical evenings, therapeutic wrestling matches, black-market strawberries, and midnight prayers that inspired her amazing transformation during one of the darkest hours in history.

The Etty Project was created by three theatre artists who came together specifically to create this piece in 2005. This new play is being collaboratively created by Artistic Director and critically acclaimed Actor Anne Gottlieb, Obie Award-winning Theater Artist and Director Katie Pearl, and nationally recognized Playwright Kirk Lynn (“Lipstick Traces”, “Major Bang”). Collectively these artists have developed, produced and directed more than 120 shows in 13 cities, including three Off-Broadway premieres and seven national and international tours.

The Wrestling Patient is being developed and produced by FortyMagnolias Productions, a non-profit theater arts organization dedicated to developing and producing new work for the stage. The World Premiere is a co-production between SpeakEasy Stage Company, Boston Playwrights' Theatre and FortyMagnolias Productions.