posted April 5, 2005

Hope to Present The Good Person of Setzuan

Hope College Theatre will present "The Good Person of Setzuan," written by German playwright Bertolt Brecht, beginning Friday, April 15.

The production will have a two-week run, Friday and Saturday, April 15-16, and Wednesday through Saturday, April 20-23, in the DeWitt Center main theatre. Curtain time will be at 8 p.m. except for the performance on Thursday, April 21, which will begin at 8:30 p.m.

In the play, three gods have come down to Setzuan in search of a good person and, after much looking, they find Shen Te, who provides them with a place to sleep. To show their gratitude, they give her money so that she may begin a new life for herself. All too soon, neighbors and relatives descend upon Shen Te and take advantage of her generosity. Shen Te creates an alter-ego, her business-minded cousin Shui Ta, so that he might take care of the greedy friends while Shen Te can remain a good person. Problems continue to arise, and soon the good Shen Te begins to disappear altogether.

Bertolt Brecht began writing plays in the early 20th century and was greatly influenced by the social climate of that time, especially by Marxism. Brecht frequently explored themes that related to the despair of the human condition with a vision of a new, progressive society.

The play is being directed by Daina Robins, who is an associate professor of theatre at Hope.

"Brecht is a playwright always interested in questioning the status quo," said Robins, relating her interest in the play. "He doesn't want us to become hypnotized either in the theatre or in life. His demand that we wake up is compelling and challenging to me."

The production team includes a variety of members of the Hope theatre faculty and staff and students. Faculty member Richard Smith is the scenic and properties designer; faculty member Perry Landes is lighting and sound designer; and faculty member and director of theatre, Michelle Bombe, is the costume designer. Paul Anderson of the theatre department staff is the technical director, and adjunct English faculty member Jackie Bartley is the costume shop manager and head cutter. Other key positions include senior Andrew Meyers of Churchville, N.Y., as music director, junior Mike Dominiak of Dearborn as stage manager; and, as assistant stage managers, freshman Dane Clark of Grand Rapids and sophomore Kate Goetzinger of Indianapolis, Ind.

Cast members include: freshman Kayla Anderson of Bear, Del.; junior Alyssa Bauer of Grand Rapids; junior Emily Casey of Wheaton, Ill.; junior Ginger Child-Smith of East Grand Rapids; junior Sandra Deitz of Grand Rapids; senior Daniel DeMarse of Grandville; freshman Isaac D. Droscha of Mason; junior Reginald D. Haney II of Harvey, Ill.; senior Jeffrey R. Kurtze of Elkhart, Ind.; junior Sharon Kwan of Ann Arbor; freshman Alexandra McLeod of Traverse City; and junior NoahDavid Lein of Elk Rapids.

Also: junior David Paarlberg of Glenrock, N.J.; junior Kat Ramsey of Kalamazoo; senior Katie Seifert of Plymouth; freshman Jon Sprik of Grand Rapids; junior Kendra Stock of St. Charles, Ill.; sophomore Kristi Lynn Szczepanek of Grand Rapids; freshman Whitney Thomas of Granville, Ohio; freshman Jocelyn Vammer of Midland; junior Eric Van Tassell of Spencer, Iowa; freshman Jeremiah W. Vipond of Traverse City; sophomore Ethan Vissers of Holland; and freshman Rachel Wells of West Bend, Wis.

Tickets for "The Good Person of Setzuan" are $7 for regular admission, $5 for faculty and staff, and $4 for students and senior citizens, and are available in the theatre lobby box office in the DeWitt Center.

The box office is open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and until curtain time on performance nights, and will also be open on Saturday, April 16, and Saturday, April 23, from noon to 8 p.m. The box office can be called at (616) 395-7890.

The DeWitt Center is located on Columbia Avenue at 12th Street.