Can we practice goodness and create a world to sustain it? This question, posed by Shen Tei, the good-hearted, penniless and cross-dressing prostitute of Bertolt Brecht's Good Person of Szechwan, is central to the work of The Foundry Theatre. The play's concerns, and the earmarks of the Foundry's new production, make it an ideal offering from the company, which is celebrated for creating memorable theatrical events while pursuing civic inquiry and social justice. The show, starring the singular Taylor Mac as Shen Tei, is directed by Lear deBessonet and features original live music by "indie rock vaudevillians" (SPIN) César Alvarez and The Lisps.
La MaMa will present the world premiere February 1-24, 2013 at the Ellen Stewart Theatre (66 East 4th Street, NYC). Tickets are $35 for regular and $30 for seniors and students. They can be purchased by visiting La MaMa's Main Box Office at 74A East 4th Street, NYC, 212.475.7710 or www.lamama.org. The Ellen Stewart Theatre Box Office opens 1 hour and 30 minutes prior to curtain. Critics are welcome as of Tuesday, February 5 for an official opening on Wednesday, February 6.
In addition to Mac, the cast includes Lisa Kron as Mrs. Mi Tzu/Mrs. Yang, Annie Golden, Vinie Burrows and Mia Katigbak as The Gods; David Turner as Wang, The Waterseller; Kate Benson as Mrs. Shin; Brooke Ishibashi as The Woman; and Paul Juhn as Mr. Shu Fu. Two roles are still being cast. The creative team includes Anne Erbe (Dramaturg), Tyler Micoleau (Lighting Designer), Clint Ramos (Costume Designer), Matt Saunders (Set Designer) and Brandon Wolcott (Sound Designer).
In the comedic and complex Good Person of Szechwan, three gods descend from the heavens upon a poor district in the Szechuan Province in search of a truly good person. They discover Shen and reward her inherent goodness with money to buy a small tobacco shop but her attempts to rebuild her life are thwarted as the shop begins to fail because of her kindness. Forced to disguise herself so she can master the ruthlessness needed to survive the brutal world, Shen creates an alter ego named Sui Ta, a cousin who is a savvy businessman. The ambitious Sui soon pulls focus and Shen fades until it seems that Sui has murdered Shen. The play concludes with Sui on trial, where he reveals his true identity to the gods. But that one question remains for the audience to answer.
Taylor Mac (Shen Tei/SuiTa) is an Obie Award-winning playwright, actor, singer-songwriter, director and producer. His recent roles include Puck in A Midsummer's Night Dream at the Classic Stage Company and the title character in his play The Lily's Revenge at HERE and the American Repertory Theater. Mac has performed his work at The Sydney Opera House, San Francisco's MoMA and Opera, New York's Lincoln Center and The Public Theater, Stockholm's Sodra Teatern, The Spoleto Festival, The Bumbershoot Festival, The Time Based Arts Festival, Dublin's Project Arts Center, London's Soho Theater, and hundreds of other theaters, museums, music halls, cabarets, and festivals around the globe.
Upcoming projects include performing with Mandy Patinkin in a two-man show directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman called The Last Two People On Earth, An Apocalyptic Vaudeville, playing the Emcee in Cabaret at Playmaker's Repertory, a production of his new play Hir at the Magic Theater in San Francisco, and the creation/performance of a 24-hour concert of the history of popular music in the United States. For more information: www.taylormac.net.