It is rare that philosophers are treated as human beings in literature, or where their ideas can be included when they are also looked at as human beings. It seems to me that The Hat accomplishes this. Thereʼs a Frayn-esque feel about it, while resisting his overblown conclusivity. While this may be partially a result of its brevity, I think there is something that surpasses his stuff as well. Philosophy is a human activity ― this play brings that out in a multi-faceted fashion.
Raw emotion is what this play is all about: not in the sense of Hollywood, but as expressed in very simple gestures like picking up a hat. Philosophy and sex make for a surprisingly potent combination! Utterly compelling and thought-provoking.
The true innovation of this piece is the seamless interweaving of philosophical viewpoints within a growing sexual tension. Indeed, to claim it is interweaving is not to do it justice. The philosophical viewpoints and the sexual tension become one as Ardó moves the concepts themselves beyond being the medium through which Arendt and Heidegger discover each other, into being sexually evocative in themselves. In so doing she subverts the supposed appositeness of sexuality and philosophy, often with caustic irony. What is perhaps most incredible is that this interweaving, this irony, this philosophical tension… is no more than a subplot in the Hat. Stunning.
The meeting between Arendt and Heidegger comes alive: the sexual tension is gripping. I could believe that this is how things were between them.
I was vaguely aware that Martin Heidegger had once taught Hannah Arendt, and even knew that the two of them had been lovers - unlikely though that seemed. However, these bare facts really took on no meaning for me until I read Zsuzsanna Ardó’s excellent play The Hat. She has clearly done some remarkably detailed reading to make sure her account of their first meeting is consistent with all the known facts - but her real achievement is to make their meeting and their subsequent affair/seduction/meeting of minds believable in human terms. The script crackles with intellectual and sexual tension. We’ll never know exactly what was said at that first meeting - but The Hat fits!
Subtle, sharp and witty.
The first time I read The Hat, I thought it was a play about a philosophy lesson. The second time I read it, I thought it was a warm, romantic play about a seduction. The third time I read it, I thought it was a creepy, chilling play about a seduction. Now I’m starting to realize it’s all of those things, and it’s only the beginning of the process. Terrific – a superb short work about the interplay between philosophical debate and seduction.
...endlessly clever and funny.
The Hat is a fun, philosophical play that confirms the human condition. Its wit and personable characters hit home reminding us that we are all curious creatures, determined to search for the truth, within our world, ourselves, and our fellow people, although it is often easier to take the opinions of someone else and leave it at that. The Hat: Arendt Meets Heidegger is the work of a very gifted writer, a thought-provoking, intelligent, and dynamic play.
A very engaging play.
Very engaging, and it had a really good energy.
An energetic and innovative production, which left the audience clamouring for more. Ardó has a highly original vision and voice.
The Hat has strong characterization and good writing.
Exuberant and original – a surprising and exciting piece of theatre.
A delightful, beautifully constructed and engaging play.