Brecht’s Good Person of Setzuan in Chicago

Is it possible to live as a good person in an evil world?  This is the question Bertolt Brecht poses in his Good Person of Setzuan, when three gods descend on Setzuan to reward the one good person that they have evidence exists in the city.  That the person is a prostitute evokes some consternation among the residents, perhaps among the audience as well.  But what is a “good person”? And is it possible to live individually as a good person?
The remarkable theatre department of the Chicago Academy for the Arts presents its version of this important play.
Brecht’s German “epic theatre” combines with Chinese folk tales and, some say, American detective literature to produce a play that certainly reverberates in our “evil world.”  But don’t dismiss Brecht as a ponderous didact: some say he leaves us with an ambiguous ending.  Perhaps he leaves us with the only ending that the dramatist who values his modern  audience can leave us with.  The last few lines of his epilogue speak to the need for all of us to be involved in the change we want to see:

It is for you to find a way, my friends,To help good men arrive at happy ends.

You write the happy ending to the play!

There must, there must, there’s got to be a way!

Good Person of Setzuan
Thursday, October 21 · 7:00pm – 9:00pm

Location Chicago Academy for the Arts 

1010 West Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL

Created By

More Info October 21st- 4:45
October 22nd- 7:00
October 23rd- 7:00
October 28th- 4:45
October 29th- 7:00
October 30th- 7:00

One Response to “Brecht’s Good Person of Setzuan in Chicago”

  1. David DePrez Says:


    Just got back from the 10-23 7 pm showing. I looked for you. What a nice tribute to the doings of the theater department at CAA.

    I first came across the name of Bertolt Brecht when crashing
    at a friend’s residence up in the mountains of Ohiopyle, PA at this time of the year, 1982, fall colors ablaze in the Alleghenies. As I sat at an old roll top desk, I read Dylan’s liner notes for The Times They are A’Changing. “With the sounds of François Villon echoin’ through my mad streets/as I stumble on lost cigars of Bertolt Brecht.”

    the lost cigars of Bertolt Brecht
    the empty bottles of Brendon Behan
    the hypnotic words of A. Floyd
    the woven spell of Paul Clayton
    the lungs of Edith Piaf
    the mysteries of Marlene Dietrich
    the dead poems of Eddie Freeman
    the love songs of Allen Ginsberg
    the jail songs of Ray Bremser
    the narrow tunes of Modigliani
    the cries of Charles Aznavour
    the melodies of Yevtrishenko
    the quiet fire of Miles Davis
    the bells of William Blake
    the beat visions of Johnny Cash
    the saintliness of Pete Seeger…

    This was after a crazy jaunt with a German to New York and while hitchhiking back to Oregon, chronicled in a blog post,

    I tend to look for you around these parts. Would like to see you sometime to talk about Wobblies, the colorful neighborhood wall art you were involved with this summer, the time I cartooned in newsletters meant to spark interest of clerical workers at U of I in a contract with AFSCME, and your blog here. Live well, Lew.

    David DePrez

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