Bravo to the Cast and Crew of ‘The Good Soul of Szechuan’

By David Montgomery

Congratulations to everybody involved in the Program in Educational Theatre’s production of Bertolt Brecht’s The Good Soul of Szechuan. What a pleasure it was to see such an outstanding production of Brecht performed in the Black Box Theatre on Thursday night (October 24)!

NYU Steinhardt Program in Educational Theatre - 'Good Soul of Szechuan' Poster, 2019

Exquisitely directed by Dr. Nancy Smither, many of Brecht’s theatre techniques were brilliantly used, including the use of captions, music, songs, actors playing several roles, direct addresses to the audience, and plenty of humor mixed with serious themes and moments. All of these theatrical techniques supported and enhanced the play’s structure, which was translated by David Harrower. Following the actions of the character of Shen Te/Shui Ta, the play explores whether in order to do good we must sometimes do evil, and whether true goodness is possible in a poverty-filled world. 

This parable exploring good and evil embodied Brecht’s vision of a theater that simultaneously entertains, teaches and provokes questions and thought. Tonight I was so impressed by the talented ensemble’s ability to convey all these things. The 17 cast members worked together seamlessly to present a provocative and compelling interpretation of this historically significant play that felt fresh and new. And Anthony Sun Prickett’s original music and musical numbers further added meaningful weight to the tone and mood of the piece. 

The wonderfully versatile ensemble of actors  included:

  • Elise Baum
  • Theo Blumstein
  • Jason Goldwin Chang
  • Christine Drayer
  • Irene Guo
  • Madeline Hoak
  • Asha John
  • Beryl Liu
  • Rita Liu
  • Laura Amancha Negrete
  • Xiaojin Niu
  • Eve Price
  • Kevin Qian
  • Sarah Reed
  • Ash Russell
  • Gretchen Vosburgh
  • Sara Wu 

Tim McMath’s set design was perfect, seemingly simple yet highly inventive. Praise must also be given to Lighting Designer Daryl Embry, Costume Designer Michelle Humprey, Sound Designer Ernesto Valenzuela, assistant directors/dramaturgs Jin Dong and Anthony Sun Prickett, assistant stage managers Megan Abbanat and Hoa Thi Kahnh Tran, and the always reliable and talented Production Stage Manager, Kristina Varshavskaya. 

Bravo to you all!

There are only three remaining shows at the Black Box Theatre at 82 Washington Square East—including Friday night (Oct. 24) at 8pm, Saturday at 8pm, and this Sunday at 3pm.

So don’t miss this illuminating and entertaining production! 

Catch it before it closes!