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rogue, (rôg), n. [<16th-c. thieves' slang <L.rogare, to ask]


Recipient of the
2012 American Theatre Wing
National Theatre Company Award

 

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No one can be good for long if goodness is not in demand.   
—First god, in The Good Woman of Setzuan

Bertold Brecht's 
	    The Good Woman of Setzuan, Translated by Eric Bentley, Score by Stefan Wolpe
Directed by Cynthia Meier
Musical direction by Harlan Hokin
Featuring Big Head Puppets by Tucson Puppet Works
Produced by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc.

March 29–April 15, 2007

Thursday–Saturday 7:30 PM, Sunday 2:00 PM
Live preshow music by the Summer Thunder Chinese Music Ensemble begins 15 minutes before curtain

Preview Night Thursday March 29 7:30 PM
Pay-What-You-Will Nights Thursdays April 5 & 12 7:30 PM


Performance Schedule

Zuzi’s Dance Theatre, Historic YWCA, 738 North Fifth Avenue at University Boulevard
See Map

In this parable, the gods come to earth in search of a thoroughly good person.
They encounter Shen Te, a good-hearted but penniless prostitute
who, to muster sufficient ruthlessness to do good
and survive in an evil world, must disguise herself.

View the full poster

View production photos

 

I know, I know, Illustrious Ones!
I found no one to give you a room—not in all Setzuan!

Wong (Martie van der Voort) awakens to the three gods
(Leanné Whitewolf Charlton, Jill Baker, and Nick Bravin)

Puppet design by Matt Cotten, Tucson Puppet Works

Photo by Tim Fuller

 

You Figure It Out: Rogue Theatre gives us plenty to mull over in The Good Woman of Setzuan

Review by James Reel in the April 5 Tucson Weekly

The Good Woman of Setzuan

2-page review by Iris J. Arnesen in the April, 2007 The Opera Glass
“The Rogue Theatre gave me a real gift with their exquisite production of
The Good Woman of Setzuan, and I will be eternally grateful for it.

Good Woman is solid theater

Review by Kathleen Allen in the April 3 Arizona Daily Star

Rogue Theatre takes on Brecht

Preview by Sherilyn Forrester in the March 23 Arizona Daily Star

Directors’ Notes

German playwright Bertolt Brecht wrote Der Gute Mensch von Sezuan between 1939 and 1941, while living in the U.S.  Brecht used a Chinese fable and the fictitious setting of the village of Setzuan to tell his story of good and evil in a capitalist society.

In the Prologue to the play, the First God tells us “We cannot concern ourselves with economic matters.” From Brechtís point of view, one well might ask: What good are gods if they’re not going to deal with economic issues? There are no other issues besides economic ones! Brecht might also say (and perhaps did say) that if you want to have justice, you have to address economic matters. As we watch Shen Te’s rise from poverty, we see the compromises she must make in order to survive. People may indeed have all the morality they can afford.

Brecht’s theory of the theatre as an educational tool insisted that a play should not cause the audience to emotionally identify with the action before them, but should instead provoke rational self-reflection and a critical view of the actions on stage. He believed that the experience of a climactic catharsis of emotion left an audience complacent. Instead, he wanted his audiences to identify social ills at work in the world and be moved to go forth from the theatre and effect change. For this purpose, Brecht employed the use of techniques (Verfremdungseffekt) that remind the spectator that the play is a representation of reality and not reality itself.

The questions Brecht poses with The Good Woman remain current. As we watch our world divided into the haves and the have-nots by hurricanes and other less dramatic but insidious forces, we are left with Shen Te’s cry for help. Like most works of art, Brecht’s play does not offer us answers, but it does afford us an opportunity to think deeply about possibilities for changing the world.

Welcome to Setzuan.

—Cynthia Meier, Director of The Good Woman of Setzuan
& Joseph McGrath, Artistic Director

 

Musical Director’s Notes

Quite a few composers have produced settings of the songs in Good Woman. We are using pieces composed by Brecht’s contemporary and friend Stefan Wolpe (1902–1972), during his teaching residency at Black Mountain College in 1953. (The Rogue Theatre is grateful to Professor Austin Clarkson, curator of the Wolpe Archive, who sent us the piano/vocal score and gave us permission to use these songs and arrange them to suit our production.)

The music can be simply described as “modern.” It’s accessible, and includes memorable tunes, suitable for humming to oneself. This is in stark contrast to many willfully dense and complex pieces that dominated serious European and American composition in the 1950s—including many of Wolpe’s other compositions. In spite of their simplicity, each of Wolpe’s songs contains at least one startlingly original element that insists on the acknowledgement of revolutionary ardor within a relatively simple harmonic texture.

These compositions are utterly text-driven—that is, text rhythm, poetic shape and dramatic intent are carefully represented and enhanced moment by moment in the music, similar to the most expressive moments of opera. Wolpe’s music is exceptionally well suited to the play. In adding these songs to the plain text, we as a theatre company have experienced dramatic insights that would not have been obvious without the music.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

The songs—of which there are nineteen in Brecht’s script!—were composed for a production of Good Woman that was given at Black Mountain College in 1953. You may recognize Black Mountain as one of the legendary experimental ventures in collaborative liberal arts education and intellectual ferment of the 20th century. The experiment brought together a rotating cast of well-known and influential intellectuals and artists for extended stays in the beautiful pastoral environment in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. A few of the highlights of the Black Mountain experience include the conception and construction of the world’s first geodesic dome by Buckminster Fuller, the first multimedia “happening,” as staged by John Cage, the publication of influential authors of the Beat Generation such as Alan Ginsberg in the “Black Mountain Review,” and the employment of our composer, Stefan Wolpe, as a music teacher for one year. Albert Einstein was on the board of directors of Black Mountain, and lectured there many times. It was in the context of this magnificent ivory tower that Brecht’s play about our conception of cultural morality, enhanced by Wolpe’s songs, took place. You can bet there was a discussion after the show.

Black Mountain College was the first American experimental college boasting complete democratic self-rule, extensive work in the creative arts, and interdisciplinary academic study. Even though the dream lasted only from 1933 through 1957, the influence of the experiment is still palpable in our current intellectual and artistic environment. Black Mountain College was created as an experiment of “education in a democracy,” with the idea that the creative arts and practical responsibilities are equal in importance to the development of the intellect. The emphasis was that learning and living are intimately connected. Dramatics, music, and the fine arts were regarded as an integral part of the life of the college. No student held a job through college but everyone, faculty and students alike, participated in work on the farm operated by the college, constructed buildings, did maintenance work, served meals, etc. Many classes were held at night and none were scheduled in the afternoons in order to allow time for work on the campus. There was no organized athletic program as it was thought there should be no sharp distinction between work and play.

—Harlan Hokin, Musical Director

 

                         Cast                         

First God/Boy Jill Baker
Second God/Husband Nick Bravin
Third God/Wife Leanné Whitewolf Charlton    
Unemployed Man Jeremy Ellwood
Shen Te Patty Gallagher
Mrs. Mi Tzu/Old Whore Roxanne Harley
Niece Carolyn Hokin
Grandfather/Old Man Art Jacobson
      Sister-in-Law/Old Woman Avis Judd
Yang Sun Joseph McGrath*
Shu Fu James Mousigian
Mrs. Shin Arlene Naughton
Nephew James Naughton
Carpenter/Policeman Roger Owen
Mrs. Yang Roberta Streicher
Wong Martie van der Voort

  *Member of Actors’ Equity Association,
the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States,
appearing under a Special Appearance Contract
 

Musicians

Piano Harlan Hokin           

Preshow Music by Summer Thunder Chinese Music Ensemble
Dizi, Xiao, Guqin Paul Amiel          
                Erhu Andrew Wilt
Yangqin Ping Zhou
Vocals Yi Chen
 

Production Staff

Stage Manager Adam Hostetter              
Light Board Operator Wendy Whitacre            
                  Marketing and Publicity Thomas Wentzel
Poster and Program Thomas Wentzel
 

Designers

Scenic Design Joseph McGrath
Costume Design Cynthia Meier
Lighting Design J. Matthew Bouchard
Puppet Design Matt Cotten, Tucson Puppet Works
 

Our Thanks

Jenny Carrillo
Chuck Graham
James Reel
Kathy Allen
ZUZI! Dance Company
Jesse Greenberg
All Our Advertisers

 

Cast Biographies

Jill Baker (First God/Boy)

Jill Baker (First God/Boy) is delighted to make her Tucson debut with The Rogue Theatre. She came to Tucson from Chicago where she co-wrote, directed and performed Mary Shelley and Her Monsters. She spent the previous year as Artist in Residence at the Berkshire Theatre Festival where she taught playwrighting and acting to elementary school students while touring a production of Strange Waves. Other productions with the Berkshire Theatre Festival include The Father, Peter Pan, and Arabian Nights. She graduated with her BFA in Theatre Performance from Missouri State University. Much love to doggy Jackson and hubby Andrew.

Nick Bravin (Second God/Husband) is a graduate of Stanford University and Columbia Law School, a two-time member of the U.S. Olympic Fencing Team, and a former law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Nick studied acting in New York City at the New Actors Workshop (founded by Mike Nichols, Paul Sills, and George Morrison). Recently, in New York City, Nick originated the part of Gregg in Running and appeared in The Crucible and The Merchant of Venice. He has also appeared in several independent films and numerous television and radio programs, as well as fashion spreads in magazines such as Vanity Fair (cover), Rolling Stone, Vogue, and Esquire.

Nick Bravin (Second God/Husband)
Leanne Whitewolf (Third God/Wife)

Leanné Whitewolf Charlton (Third God/Wife) received her theatre and dance education from Northwestern College and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Some of her favorite Midwestern roles include Aunt Ev in The Miracle Worker, Lucy Seward in Braham Stoker’s Dracula and The Player in Pippin. She has studied with The Milwaukee Ballet as well as the internationally renowned Afro-modern dance company Ko- Thi. Her Arizona credits include the role of Helga Ten Dorp in Deathtrap with the Tucson Theatre Ensemble, Hattie Dealing in Laundry and Bourbon with The Studio for Actors, Linda Waterman in Fiction for Beowulf Alley Theatre Company, and Indian Maid and Echo for Endymion with The Rogue Theatre. Leanné is grateful for another opportunity to share in The Rogue’s vision. She is especially thankful to Dixie, Lakota and the founding members of The Florence Players who bless every performance from the other side. She lives with her large four-legged family and her unbelievably supportive husband, Russ, and would like to dedicate this performance to Francis Wade Charlton, her father-in-law, who passed last November.

Jeremy Ellwood (Unemployed Man) is extremely thrilled to be on this show with such an excellent cast. He recently moved to Tucson from Michigan, where he studied theatre performance, dance performance, and lighting design. He is excited to be back onstage rather than behind it for the first time after six years. His former acting credits include The Trial, The Real Inspector Hound, The Odyssey, and Measure for Measure, among many others. This is his first with The Rogue Theatre and he has been enjoying the process with them immensely.

Jeremy Ellwood (Unemployed Man)
Patty Gallagher (Shen Te)

Patty Gallagher (Shen Te) is Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts at University of California Santa Cruz where she directs courses in physical theatre, mask performance, Balinese dance, and clown traditions. She is Director in Residence for the Clown Conservatory, a year-round training program of the San Francisco School of Circus Arts. She holds a doctorate in Theatre and Drama from University of Wisconsin–Madison. She has performed clown and buffoon with Teatro Cronopio and studied in Laboratorio Grupo Malayerba. She has worked with the New Pickle Circus, Fool Time Circus, Folger Shakespeare Theatre, San Francisco Circus and the Weird Sisters Ensemble. She has performed and directed workshops in Asia, South America, Europe, and the U.S., and recently was a Fulbright Scholar in Quito, Ecuador. She is a founding member of Local Hero, a physical theatre ensemble.

Roxanne Harley (Mrs. Mi Tzu/Old Whore) began her performance career in Michigan as a dancer and performed with Milton Berle in summer shows. She returned to the stage 10 years ago. Most recently she appeared as Gertrude in LTW Etceteras’ production of Hamlet. This is her third play with The Rogue Theatre; she was previously in The Balcony and The Dead. She has performed with Wilde Playhouse, Nathalia Stage Ensemble, Pima Community College, Blood Hut Productions, Old Pueblo Playwrights and V-Day productions. Her play Dancing Around Love was produced at Pima Community College and was selected for performance at the 1998 Region VIII Kennedy Center Competition. She also performs stand up comedy at higher education conferences, sharing her experiences as a former director of community college counseling.

Roxanne Harley (Mrs. Mi Tzu/Old Whore)
Carolyn Hokin (Niece)

Carolyn Hokin (Niece) is a sophomore at the University of Arizona studying Spanish, music, and nursing, and is more than thrilled to be a part of the Rogue Theatre’s production of The Good Woman of Setzuan. She got her start performing at St. Philip’s in the Hills Episcopal Church, where she sang such coveted solo pieces as Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms and Gabriel Fauré’s Pie Jesu. Some of her favorite roles during her four-year sojourn at the BASIS High School include the lovely Bella in Lost in Yonkers, Titania in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Director of The Compleat Wrks of Wllm Shkspr (Abridged). Carolyn has most recently performed with The Rogue Theatre in The Dead and Endymion. She is also a member of Tucson’s popular improv troupe Not Burned Out Just Unscrewed.

Art Jacobson (Grandfather/Old Man) began his acting career as a child actor in Chicago radio. In college, he played John Adams in a summer-long production of The Common Glory. He wrote and acted in radio dramas produced by the Broadcasting Service of the University of Michigan and came home to Chicago as a production director at NBC’s affiliate, WMAQ. Subsequently, he taught philosophy at Roosevelt University in Chicago. Tucson audiences have seen him in readers’ theatre performances of No Exit and The Critics, as the Rabbi in Borderlands Theater production of Vilna’s Got a Golem, and in The Rogue Theatre’s The Balcony, The Dead and Endymion. He’s delighted to be part of The Good Woman of Setzuan.

Art Jacobson (Grandfather/Old Man)
Avis Judd (Sister-in-Law/Old Woman)

Avis Judd (Sister-in-Law/Old Woman) is thrilled to be back on stage after a two year hiatus. Avis received her theatre degree from Northwestern University. Favorite roles include Olga in The Three Sisters, Fury in the English language premier of Héléne Cixious’ The Perjured City, or the Awakening of the Furies; Faith in Invisible Theatre’s production of Kindertransport, Emilia in Othello; and the title role in a one woman show, which she adapted and directed, about Bahá’í heroine Martha Root. Avis feels privileged to work with such a talented ensemble, and thanks her husband, Michael, and daughter, Sophia, for their loving support and encouragement.

Joseph McGrath (Yang Sun) is a graduate of the Juilliard School of Drama. He has toured with John Houseman’s Acting Company, appearing in Pericles, Tartuffe, Twelfth Night, and The Country Wife. At the Utah Shakespearean Festival, Joe appeared in Hamlet, Henry IV: Part I, and Much Ado About Nothing. In New York City, he directed Rough Magic: A Shakespeare Quartet. In Tucson, he is a frequent performer with Ballet Tucson appearing as Quasimodo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, a Stepsister in Cinderella, Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, VanHelsing in Dracula and, perennially, as Drosselmeyer in The Nutcracker. He has also performed with Arizona Theatre Company, Arizona Opera, Tucson Art Theatre, Arizona OnStage, Green Thursday, Damesrocket Theatre, and Old Pueblo Playwrights in such roles as Trigorin in The Seagull, Sam Byck in Assassins, John in Oleanna, Weeping Willow Walter in Threepenny Opera, and This Rock in Anger Box. Joe is the Artistic Director for The Rogue Theatre, for which he directed The Balcony, Endymion, and The Maids, performed The Fever, and performed in The Dead and Endymion. Joe is also a scenic designer and owns Sonora Theatre Works with his wife Regina Gagliano, producing theatrical scenery and draperies.

Joseph McGrath, Artistic Director (Yang Sun)
James Mousigian (Shu Fu)

James Mousigian (Shu Fu) is honored to be back in Tucson with the Rogue Theater and its delightful ensemble for his return to the stage. A graduate of the San Francisco Art Institute, and resident of Oakland, CA, James has created performances and installations in the Bay Area, in Budapest, Hungary and with a cultural exchange in Nogales, Mexico. While a student at the University of Arizona, James performed the poetry of Donald Hall, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and Kenneth Koch, and later performed and made video art in the downtown Tucson art community at Dinnerware, Club Congress, and TCCC. He dedicates this performance to his favorite production, his three-year-old son, Felix.

Arlene Naughton (Mrs. Shin) most recently played the Horse in The Balcony, Mary Jane in The Dead, Venus in Endymion, and Madame in The Maids, all for The Rogue Theatre. Her Arizona credits include Nunsense (Flagstaff Festival of the Arts), Brighton Beach Memoirs (Serendipity Playhouse), A Christmas Carol (Gaslight Theatre), and Wigged Out! (Stray Theatre Company). Arlene also toured with the Nebraska Theatre Caravan and performed in Lady Audley’s Secret (Imperial Hotel) and I’ll Be Back Before Midnight (Derby Dinner Playhouse). She is a licensed marriage and family therapist and works at Cottonwood de Tucson.

Arlene Naughton (Mrs. Shin)
James Naughton (Nephew)

James Naughton (Nephew) is a Tucson native. He holds a masters degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from the University of Arizona, and works full-time as a licensed independent substance abuse counselor, and professional counselor at a local inpatient treatment facility. Naughton has been cast in a 15 minute short of Tea For Three at the Wilde Playhouse, has participated in many script readings with Old Pueblo Playwrights, was seen at The Temple of Music and Art in the staged reading of Circle Jerk, and most recently performed as Mr. Corley in The Dead with The Rogue Theatre.

Roger Owen (Carpenter/Policeman) began performing locally in the mid-1960s. He’s worked with Arizona Civic Theatre (now ATC), U of A, Playbox and many others. In 1979, he played Mitch in Streetcar Named Desire in Key West (with Tennessee Williams involved in rehearsals). Favorite classical roles include Macbeth, Oberon and Toby Belch in Invisible Theatre’s 1970s outdoor summer productions at La Placita, and Aphrodite/Old Nurse/Theseus in Hippolytus, also at IT. Roger took a “sabbatical” between Jerry in Albee’s Zoo Story (1981) and Frank in Shanley’s Dirty Story at Live Theatre Workshop (2006) to play the father role to his favorite co-productions, Sean and Kate. Most recently, he appeared as John Lambert in Visitor’s Guide to Arivaca and as Michael the Archangel in A Tucson Pastorela at Borderlands Theatre.

Roger Owen (Carpenter/Policeman)
Roberta Streicher (Mrs. Yang)

Roberta Streicher (Mrs. Yang) appeared last March in The Rogue Theatre’s production of The Dead as Miss Kate. Roberta is honored to be chosen to play Mrs. Yang in this company of actors. She was seen last spring in Live Theatre Workshop’s Arsenic and Old Lace, and narrating for Thom Lewis’ dance production, Appearance and Apocrypha. Roberta will also be appearing with Live Theatre Workshop’s May 2007 production of Bell, Book and Candle. Roberta has a BFA from Goodman Memorial Theatre, has studied in New York City with Tamara Daykarhanova, was in the director’s unit of the Actors Studio, and has taught at Juilliard School of Music and Pima Community College.

Martie van der Voort (Wong) Martie van der Voort has been performing as a musician and actor for a long, long time. A psychotherapist by day, a performer by night, she’s trying to get more sleep. Musically, she’s the soloist for the Pet Cemetery of Tucson, and wrote and performed the music for Holiday Memories with Beowulf Alley Theatre. She’s performed locally with Itch Productions, the Wilde Playhouse, Old Pueblo Playwrights, the Not Burnt Out Just Unscrewed comedy improv troupe, V-Day, Bloodhut Productions, Borderlands Theatre, Bloody Unicorn Theatre Company, and Arizona Onstage. With The Rogue Theatre she has played in The Balcony, The Dead, and now The Good Woman of Setzuan. She gives a thousand thankful kisses to her partner Lauren for supporting this theatre passion with such love.

Martie van der Voort (Wong)

 

Music in The Good Woman of Setzuan

Harlan Hokin (Musical Director)

The Rogue’s production of Good Woman is augmented by music composed by Brecht’s contemporary and friend Stefan Wolpe, specially arranged for this production by Harlan Hokin (Musical Director). Harlan has performed extensively as a singer in Europe and the United States, including a stint with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. He earned a doctorate in historical performance practice from Stanford, and has taught at Stanford and UC Santa Cruz. Harlan is an active workshop teacher and writer on topics of interest to singers and early music performers. Recent theatrical involvement has been with The Rogue Theatre as Musical Director for The Maids, Endymion, The Dead and The Balcony, and Arizona Onstage Productions as Vocal Director for their production of Assassins. He is currently serving as Artistic Director for the Arizona Early Music Society and is the father of two nearly perfect teenagers.

Preshow music is provided by Summer Thunder Chinese Music Ensemble, the performance wing of the Tucson, Arizona-based Summer Thunder Music Club, dedicated to performing, enjoying, and sharing Asian traditional music with the Tucson community. The Ensemble has performed at the 17th Street Farmer’s Market, the Tucson Chinese Cultural Center, the Tucson Children’s Museum, Tucson Botanical Gardens, and other local venues. The Ensemble is directed by Paul Amiel, who has performed as a musician for The Rogue Theatre’s The Dead and Endymion. Ensemble members performing the Preshow are Paul Amiel (dizi, xiao, guqin), Andrew Wilt (erhu), Ping Zhou (yangqin), Ting-Hui Lee (guzheng) and Yi Chen (vocals).

Leanne Whitewolf (Third God/Wife)

 

Performance Schedule for The Good Woman of Setzuan

Location: Zuzi’s Dance Theater, Historic Y, 738 N. 5th Avenue at University  See map

Live preshow music by the Summer Thunder Chinese Music Ensemble begins 15 minutes before curtain

Thursday March 29, 2007, 7:30 pm PREVIEW
Friday March 30, 2007, 7:30 pm
Saturday March 31, 2007, 7:30 pm
Sunday April 1, 2007, 2:00 pm matinee

Thursday April 5, 2007, 7:30 pm PAY-WHAT-YOU-WILL
Friday April 6, 2007, 7:30 pm
Saturday April 7, 2007, 7:30 pm
Sunday April 8, 2007, 2:00 pm matinee

Thursday April 12, 2007, 7:30 pm PAY-WHAT-YOU-WILL
Friday April 13, 2007, 7:30 pm
Saturday April 14, 2007, 7:30 pm
Sunday April 15, 2007, 2:00 pm matinee

 

 

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