THE GOOD SOUL of SZECHUAN

by Bertolt Brecht
translated by David Harrower
directed by Shade Murray
Season 22
April 24—May 29, 2010
… Szechuan may be one of the classic works of 20th-century drama, but there's nothing stuffily "classic" about Strawdog Theatre's electrifying new staging. Ebullient, spontaneous, sometimes raucous, and thoroughly contemporary, this production has a loose, improvisational feel that belies its fidelity to the text.
— Chicago Reader
… The actors double as musicians for Mikhail Fiksel and Mike Przygoda's Weill-punk-rock numbers and change clothes in full view; costume designers Aly Renee Greaves and Joanna Melville wittily outfit the cast in modern thrift-store chic. But style doesn't outweigh substance: Brecht's poke at the irrationality of charity in an economic system that rewards selfishness remains potent. Leading an engaging, creatively cast 18-member ensemble, Petro shines.
— Time Out Chicago
JEFF AWARDS RECOMMENDED

Money may not buy happiness but it sure buys friends. A trio of Gods roll through the mean old town of Szechuan searching for just one good person. They find it in Shen Te, a destitute prostitute with the obligatory heart of gold. Shen Te's kindness so moves the three celestials that they reward her with enough cash to make a new life. But when her financial windfall stirs up a storm of moochers, leeches and fair-weather lovers, Shen Te calls on her hard-hearted (and oddly familiar) cousin Shui Ta to keep the wolves at bay. But if it needs the kind of protection Shui Ta practices, is goodness really any good at all?

Shade Murray, director of our award-winning and critically acclaimed productions of R.U.R., Marathon '33 and Detective Story returns to Strawdog with a new translation of Brecht's classic by Scottish playwright David Harrower — author of our award-winning production of Knives in Hens. With music, comedy and Strawdog's celebrated acting ensemble we explore the wild contortions that living with (and without) money forces us all into. Timely? Maybe a little.

cast
Lindsey Dorcus
Boy
Amy Dunlap
Second God
Paul Fagen *
Shu Fu
Shannon Hoag *
Mrs. Shin
Michaela Petro *
Shen Te/Shui Ta
production
Author
Bertold Brecht
Translator
David Harrower
Director
Shade Murray
Ass't Set Design
Mike Mroch
Composer
Music Director
* = Strawdog company member
Photography by Jon Cole Media
Production photo by Chris Ocken
Photo by KBH Media
Photo by Donald Cardiff
Photo by John Flak
Photo by Dave Brennan
Production photo by TCMcG Photography