The Good Woman of Setzuan
CAST & CREW
Charlene Latoya Mangweni
Stage Manager | Prudence Kalipinde
Operations Manager | Kudakwashe Kanembirira
A NOTE FROM DIRECTOR ELIZABETH ZAZA MUCHEMWA
Since I started taking part in the Almasi staged reading series, I have realized the kinds of stories I am interested in working on. These are stories of struggle, whether physical or metaphorical, which really depict the human condition and prompt us to think beyond the surface of our everyday. When I first read The Good Woman of Setzuan, I was struck by how Bertolt Brecht brought so many issues to the foreground without prescribing what should be or what can be. Instead, the play asks question after question about economics, morality and political ideology and their contribution to the human condition in western civilizations. In his time, Brecht realized the power of the theatre and sought to harness that power in bringing pertinent dialogue of his time to the foreground. Yet, I would be remiss if I did not talk about some of the controversies that surrounded the life and work of this brilliant playwright. One of these is the fact that while Bertolt Brecht’s 1955 published collected works do not acknowledge Margarete Selfin as collaborator on The Good Woman of Setzuan, it is believed that she had a large hand in the development of the play. Ruth Berla, a frequent Brecht collaborator, is also believed to have been involved in the play. Produced in 1943, published in 1953, the play has different versions and titles including “Der Gute Mensch von Sezuan”, “The Good person of Szechwan” and “The Good Soul of Szechuan”; a true reflection of Brecht’s practice of rewrites and adaptation. For the Almasi staged reading series, I worked on the Eric Bentley translation, first performed in 1985 in Britain.