Irondale Ensemble Presents THE GOOD SOUL OF SZECHUAN
Irondale Ensemble, an immersive home for theater and imaginative artist audience connections, will present The Good Soul of Szechuan, January 29-February 22 as part two of their three-part Bertolt Brecht series Brecht in Exile. Following last winter's production of The Life of Galileo, the ensemble will present the third and final installment Mother Courage and Her Children later next season in an exploration honoring and exploring Brecht's commitment to bring together both art and politics to invoke a new way of thinking.
Translated by noted Scottish playwright David Harrower, Irondale's production is set in the playwrights' room, mirroring Brecht's practice when he was kept in exile in the United States due to the Nazi ruling in World War 2. In the comedic pessimism of The Good Soul of Szechuan, this 1945 fable about the brutalizing nature of poverty, still remains ominously apt, exploring the lengths to which one must go to keep clean in a dirty world. The parable follows Shen Tei, the kind-hearted, penniless prostitute, found by a trio of Gods to be the only good person in town. With her goodness impossibly tested by a world that rewards evil, she is forced to disguise herself as a savvy businessman male cousin, Shui Ta, to master the ruthlessness necessary to be a "good person." For Brecht, and mirrored in the climate of today, doing good and surviving are not compatible and enlists the audience to help determine how the story should end.
In curating each season, Irondale carefully selects and develops works that are relevant to the current climate of today's society-politically, morally, and socially. "How do our approaches to these plays and the performances we create address the concerns and the overwhelming challenges facing us that are so carefully detailed in the news stories of today?" considers Jim Niesen, Artistic Director of the Irondale Ensemble. "In The Good Soul our heroine's quest is reduced to just one word, a word that must be on many of our lips today-Help! This is the personification of the two sides of human nature in extremis. We see what it takes to operate so on the edge and what the impact it all has on relationships-personally and in business. The play is very transactional in its view of the world. Sounds like somebody else we know?"
An ensemble of 6 actors, including Irondale ensemble members Michael-David Gordon, Joey Collins and Terry Greiss, will portray over 40 characters, both male and female. This type of casting transforms the play into an intimate epic event, where the acting becomes more focused and contained for a heightened audience experience, and the actors are challenged by the quick and imaginative transformations throughout Brecht's texts.
The Good Soul of Szechuan will run from January 29-February 22, 2020, with performances every Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
General admission tickets are $30 with discounts for students, seniors and working artists and will be on sale to the public http://irondale.org/show-good-soul/.
Preview performances will take place January 29 and 30.