St. Davids, PA, October 28, 2013: Eastern University Theatre presents the Bertolt Brecht classic, The Good Person of Setzuan, in McInnis Auditorium on the campus at 1300 Eagle Road, St. Davids, PA. Performances are Wednesday, November 13 through Saturday, November 16 at 8 PM, and Sunday, November 17 at 3 PM.
The Good Person of Setzuan is directed by Michael Brix ‚Äô98, with music by Charlie McGloughlin ‚Äė92.
This is a rare comedy from renowned German political playwright and theorist, Bertolt Brecht. The play introduces us to three gods who visit the town of Setzuan in the hopes of finding a good person on earth. When the only person to offer them shelter is a poor prostitute, the gods grant her wealth to see if the best of humanity can maintain her goodness.
It features a strong female lead character but one would be hard pressed to find any strong feminist themes. On the surface, it is asking the question, ‚Äúwho can be good?‚ÄĚ and even asks the audience to question their very definition of goodness. Brecht himself wrestled with these themes as he fled Nazi-occupied Germany and continued to write plays with the intention to stir up conversation, provide social commentary and critique, and introduce political ideals. The Good Person of Setzuan is set in ancient China, but makes no attempt at realism. Characters fluidly represent their time, and the historical place serves to highlight changing social values and constructs. It was first produced at Eastern University in 1993.
This production utilizes elements of Brecht‚Äôs epic theatre style, with the audience in full participation with the actors and musicians. The story is set in the present-day, with a troupe of bohemian actors who have traveled to Eastern University to share with the community the complex tale of The Good Person of Setzuan. Given the University‚Äôs commitment to faith, reason, and justice, it can be assumed that there is a common understanding of what it takes to live a ‚Äúgood‚ÄĚ life.
Director Michael Brix is dedicating this show to Mark Hallen, former Director of Theatre at Eastern University, and friend, mentor and inspiration to many before his passing in August of this year. Brix selected The Good Person of Setzuan for the dedication because it was that production that introduced him to Hallen, and informed his decision to attend Eastern University.
‚ÄúWhen I was in the 12th grade, I took a trip to Eastern for a prospective weekend,‚ÄĚ explained Brix. ‚ÄúWhile there, I was invited to a dress rehearsal of the fall production and to meet the Director of Theatre, a man named Mark Hallen. I remember the production to be unlike anything that I had ever seen before; there was dancing, and rock and roll, and characters who were gods (and women!) and it was mesmerizing. It would be over a year later when I would have my first experience working with the man I had met. Mark cornered me and convinced me to audition for his production of Arthur Miller‚Äôs The Crucible. Almost 20 years later, Mark had become both my mentor and my friend. He encouraged and directed us to begin Yes! And... Collaborative Arts. He helped us begin our Winter Sort of Thing series of new musicals. To say that this man had a profound impact on my life would be understating it. As Mark‚Äôs health was declining this summer, it was a joy to sit and talk with him about our re-mount of Good Person. He always had exciting notes and thoughts about how the production would look, what it would say 20 years later. Sadly, he won‚Äôt be here for the final performances but, with this production, we are full of gratitude to be able to put this bookend on his amazing tenure.‚Äú
For tickets, call the Box Office at 610-225-5545. Tickets prices are $10 general admission, $8 for children and senior citizens, and $5 with an Eastern University ID.
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About Eastern University Theatre
Eastern Theatre‚Äôs mission is to pursue a philosophy of arts education which includes training our students to encounter, examine and embody the truths of the human experience in radical relationship to Jesus, the Divine Incarnate. The example of Jesus‚Äô life, teaching and passion inspires our belief that just as there is no ‚Äúsafe‚ÄĚ Gospel worth living for, there is no ‚Äúsafe‚ÄĚ art worth making or engaging with. We endeavor to train students and make art to respond prophetically to the human condition, and act responsibly in the dialogue of the Eastern University community.
Learn more about Theatre at Eastern University.