The theme across Southwestern College this year is hope, and to help kick off that idea, the theatre department’s production of Bertolt Brecht’s “The Good Woman of Setzuan” aims to cast a ray of hope in what can be seen as a very real, and sometimes hopeless world. The show will be presented in Messenger Recital Hall in Darbeth Fine Arts Center on Thursday, Oct. 10, at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, Oct. 11, at 8 p.m.; and on Sunday, Oct. 13, at 2 p.m.
According to Allyson Moon, director, Bertolt Brecht is a playwright known for a sense of realism in his plays which seek to deliver important messages directly to his audience.
“Brecht is a storyteller who challenges the audience to think about the issues raised by the characters in his plays,” Moon says. “‘Good Woman of Setzuan’ is set in China in the late 1920s, a time of increasing chaos and poverty in the country. Though this environment does not sound funny, Brecht’s comic writing employs dialogue, music, storytelling, and direct address as he challenges the audience to reflect on their own beliefs and actions.”
In “Good Woman of Setzuan” three gods watch the main character, Shenn Te, as she struggles with finding the balance between living comfortably and being a good,
charitable person, and also with love and personal relationships with those around her.
“It’s challenge enough to play a dual character,” says Mariah Warren, actress playing two characters in the production. “The character of Shui Ta is a challenge because I do not understand business and the character of Shenn Te is a challenge because she is such a good person whose goal it is to make everyone else happy. We are alike in the emotional aspect of the character. In fact, I believe that a lot of young women are like Shenn Te. It is difficult to remember that you must take care of yourself, first, before catering to the needs of others or it will destroy you.”
The moral that “The Good Woman of Setzuan” aims to bring to its audiences is that through all the troubles and woes in the world, there is always the chance to be a good person, and the everlasting hope that your neighbors are good people too.
For tickets or more information, call the Southwestern College box office at (620) 221-7720 or (620) 229-6171. Information is also available on the Southwestern theatre webpage, www.sckans.edu/theatre.