Media Kennedy Theatre Presents THE GOOD PERSON OF SETZUAN

Media Kennedy Theatre Presents THE GOOD PERSON OF SETZUANThe University of Hawai'i at M?noa's Department of Theatre and Dance is proud to present Tony Kushner's adaptation of Bertolt Brecht's The Good Person of Setzuan directed by MFA Directing candidate and Po'okela award-winning music director, Ike Webster. This play, originally written by one of theatre's most influential theorists and practitioners, questions how can any person be good while desperately struggling to make ends meet. Performances run October 10, 11, 12, and 13 at 7:30 p.m., and October 14 at 2:00 p.m. in the Earle Ernst Lab Theatre. A free post-show rap will follow the Friday, October 12 performance. Tickets are $8-$18.

In The Good Person of Setzuan, three Gods visit the Earth to find one mensch, one good person, to show that the world has not completely gone off the rails. They are greeted in Setzuan by Wang the Waterseller (Qalil Ismail) who searches for a place for them to stay for the night. After several failed attempts, Wang asks Shen Te (Christine Chang), a prostitute who never says no, and she agrees to share her single room with the Gods. Because of her altruism, the Gods believe that they have found their good person. Before they leave, they compensate Shen Te for their stay, which allows her to purchase a tobacco shop. However, in order to keep control of her store, Shen Te must invent a new persona that puts her interests first. When the Gods arrive to check in on their good person, will she still be the mensch they believe she is?

According to the director, Ike Webster, this production will use many of the practices and theories of Bertolt Brecht's works. "We are in a place where we are uniquely situated to perform Brecht. Dr. Markus Wessendorf is a world-class Brecht scholar, and he is here at the University of Hawai'i at M?noa," says Webster. He continues, "Dr. Wessendorf is the managing editor of the Brecht year book, and for me, having the ability to learn from and be mentored by someone who has read this play in its original language and examined it thoroughly is a unique opportunity." Dr. Wessendorf is serving as an advisor to Webster, who is using this show as his final thesis project of his MFA in Directing.

Webster states, "I believe that The Good Person of Setzuan is incredibly relevant to today's world. This piece was written during a time of political unrest, and right now we are, again, in a time of political unrest where we ask ourselves, is the right thing to do necessarily the moral thing to do?" He adds that one of the themes of this play is showing the dilemma of trying to be a good, moral person while still managing to survive in a capitalist society. He hopes that audience members are able to discuss the issues that are presented to them on stage and perhaps draw parallels from this story to their own lives. Webster says, "It has to start a dialogue. Too often in our media-driven culture we see people talking into thin air about issues, but never taking action about those issues." This show explores themes of gender politics, gender identity, and class power struggles, which Webster suggests are still relevant in our current society.

Due to some adult language, situations, and themes, this production is not recommended for children under 13. Tickets to The Good Person of Setzuan are on sale online at etickethawaii.com, by phone at (808) 944-2697, and at official outlets. Sales at the Kennedy Theatre Box Office begin on Monday, October 8 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Monday through Friday with extended sales hours on show days.

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