“The Good Woman of Setzuan” set to take the stage
The Lake Erie College theatre department will take the stage to perform the “Good Woman of Setzuan” Nov. 8-10 and 15-17 at 8 p.m. and Nov. 11 at 2 p.m. in the C.K. Rickel Theatre of the Fine Arts Building.
Lake Erie College’s production of Bertolt Brecht’s “The Good Woman of Setzuan” is a children’s fairy tale, a moral fable, a poignant call of distress and a spur to individual and social action. With life-size puppets, grotesque masks and a set that surrounds the audience and literally pulls it in, director Terence Cranendonk, visiting assistant professor of theatre, challenges and confronts theatergoers with the head on assault of a three-ring circus. Original music composed exclusively for the Lake Erie College production completes this unique re-imagining of Brecht’s contemporary standard.
In “The Good Woman of Setzuan,” three gods visit a semi-westernized Chinese city, prompted by the incessant complaints of the earth’s poor and miserable inhabitants, who find it impossible to follow the gods’ moral precepts for being “good.” Reluctant to change either their rules or the conditions of the people living on earth, the gods resolve to find just one good person, as proof that they may leave the world as it is.
The gods find their good person in a young prostitute, Shen-Te, when she offers them a place to stay for the night. In order to keep her from practicing prostitution, they give her a thousand silver dollars to support herself and continue her good deeds. When she tries to help her fellow slum-dwellers; however, she soon learns that they can be greedy, rapacious and manipulative. Shen-Te, herself, increasingly turns to deceit and exploitation in order to continue “to do good.”
Originally produced in 1943, Brecht’s play is a triumphant example of the practical application of his ideas of an “epic theatre,” in which critical involvement of the audience is emphasized over empathy for the play’s characters.
In Cranendonk’s production at Lake Erie College, “The Good Woman of Setzuan,” is a vehicle for the exploration of such questions as “What is goodness?,” “Is it possible to practice virtue in an unvirtuous world?,” and “Is goodness a function of social circumstance or of individual character?”
Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for seniors and non-LEC students. For information or to make a reservation, call the box office at 440.375.7450 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Free parking is located off Gillett Street near Andrews Osborne Academy.