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The Good Woman of Setzuan

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Three gods visit the province of Setzuan in search of a good person. All of the provincials except the prostitute Shen Te shun them, and so they reward her with money. Shen Te uses the gods’ reward to open a tobacco shop. However she discovers that the only way to protect herself from being exploited is to take on a male disguise, Shui Ta. As Shen Te’s business grows, Shui Ta apparently grows fat with prosperity, but in fact Shen Ta is pregnant by a pilot who has deserted her. At the end of the play she is brought to trial, and the gods abadnon her, refusing her plea to be released from their command to remain good. 

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Credits

Creative team

by

Berlot Brecht

Translated by

Eric Bentley

Directed by

Andrei Serban

Directed by

Andrei Serban

Director Andrei Serban (Pericles) has been associated with the American Repertory Theater for more than two decades, and has directed Lysistrata, The Merchant of Venice, The Taming of the Shrew, The King Stag, Sganarelle, Three Sisters, The Juniper Tree, The Miser, Twelfth Night, and Sweet Table at the Richelieu. In the United States, Mr. Serban has also worked with LaMama ETC, the Public Theater, Lincoln Center, Circle in the Square, Yale Repertory Theatre, the Guthrie Theatre, A.C.T., and the New York City, Seattle and Los Angeles Operas. In Europe, Mr. Serban has worked at the Welsh National Opera, Covent Garden, Théâtre de la Ville, Helsinki Lilla Teatern, the Bucharest Municipal Theatre, and the Paris, Geneva, Vienna, and Bologna Opera Houses, among others.  He has worked in Japan with the Shiki Company of Tokyo. He has taught acting and directing at Yale, University of California, Carnegie-Mellon, Sarah Lawrence, the Paris Conservatoire d'Art Dramatique, and the American Repertory Theater/Moscow Art Theater Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard.  Mr. Serban has received grants from the Ford, Guggenheim, and Rockefeller Foundations. Several of his productions have been nominated for Broadway and Off-Broadway awards. He is a tenured professor at Columbia University, where he heads the MFA acting program.

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Set design by

Jeff Muskovin

Costume design by

Catherine Zuber

Costume design by

Catherine Zuber

Catherine Zuber has created the costumes for Richard II, The Doctor's Dilemma, and over forty other A.R.T. productions including Three Farces and a Funeral, Antigone, Loot, The Idiots Karamazov, Ivanov, Phaedra, The Merchant of Venice, Valparaiso, The Imaginary Invalid, The Taming of the Shrew, Peter Pan and Wendy, The Bacchae, Man and Superman, The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari, Woyzeck, The Wild Duck, The Naked Eye, Long Day's Journey Into Night, Tartuffe, Ubu Rock, Waiting for Godot, The Oresteia, Shlemiel the First, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, A Touch of the Poet, What the Butler Saw, The Cherry Orchard, and Orphée. Ms. Zuber's credits include work at Lincoln Center, The Joseph Papp Public Theater, Goodman Theatre, The Guthrie Theater, Mark Taper Forum, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Hartford Stage Company, La Jolla Playhouse, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Houston Grand Opera, and Glimmerglass Opera, among others. Her Broadway credits include The Triumph of Love (Connecticut Critics Circle Award and Drama Desk nomination), Ivanov (Drama Desk nomination), The Sound of Music, Twelfth Night, The Red Shoes, London Assurance, The Rose Tattoo, and Philadelphia Here I Come. Ms. Zuber was the recipient of the 1997 Obie Award for sustained achievement in design. She is the costume designer for La Fête des Vignerons de 1999, the massive Festival of the Winegrowers in Vevey, Switzerland.

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Lighting design by

Howell Binkley

Lighting design by

Howell Binkley

Howell Binkley's lighting designs for Hartford Stage in addition to The Glass Menagerie include Camino Real and The Clearing, and his designs for the American Repertory Theater include Sweet Table at the Richelieu, The Good Woman of Setzuan, Gillette, Quartet, The Miser, Twelfth Night, Heartbreak House, and The Cherry Orchard. On Broadway his work has appered in The Full Monty; Gore Vidal's The Best Man; Minnelli on Minnelli; Parade; Kiss of the Spiderwoman; My Thing of Love; Sacrilege; Taking Sides; and High Society. Off-Broadway work and tours include Never the Sinner; Whistle Down the Wind; Jekyll and Hyde; and Civil War. He has worked at numerous regional theaters, including the Alley Theatre; McCarter Theatre; La Jolla Playhouse; Shakespeare Theatre; New York Shakespeare Festival; City Center Encores Productions; and Cirque Ingeniux for Networks. His work in dance and opera includes American Ballet Theater; National Ballet of Canada; Paris Opera Ballet; Hubbard Street Dance; Parsons Dance Company (co-founder); Peter Pucci Plus; Joffrey Ballet Billboards; Metropolitan Opera; and Dallas Opera.

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Music composed by

Elizabeth Swados

Music composed by

Elizabeth Swados

Elizabeth Swados, who composed the music for The Merchant of Venice previously composed music at the A.R.T. for Andrei Serban's production of The Good Woman of Setzuan and for Susan Sontag's Jacques and His Master. Her Broadway credits include The Cherry Orchard, Agamemnon, Doonesbury, and Runaways. Recent work includes her collaboration with Andrei Serban on Cymbeline for the New York Shakespeare Festival in Central Park, and previously she composed for the Public Theater's productions of Dispatches, Alice in Concert, Haggadah, Lullabye and Goodnight, Jerusalem, and Jonah. Her off-Broadway credits include Groundhog, The Prince and the Pauper, The Trilogy, The Good Woman of Setzuan, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, and Rapmaster Ronnie, among many others. She has received five Tony award nominations, three Obie awards, and an Outer Critics Circle Award, as well as Guggenheim, Ford, and Covenant Fellowships and a Stephen Spielberg Righteous Person Grant. She is the author of six children's books, three novels, and two nonfiction books. Her most recent novel, Flamboyant, is in stores now.

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Movement by

Thom Molinaro

Associate direction by

Charles Otte

Cast

Wong

Thomas Derrah

A.R.T.: 119 productions, including R. Buckminster Fuller: THE HISTORY (and Myster) OF THE UNIVERSE (R. Buckminster Fuller), Cabaret (Fraulein Schneider), Endgame (Clov), The Seagull (Dorn), Oliver Twist (also at Theatre for a New Audience and Berkeley Repertory Theatre), The Birthday Party (Stanley), Highway Ulysses (Ulysses), Uncle Vanya (Vanya), Marat/Sade (Marquis de Sade), Richard II (Richard). Broadway: Jackie: An American Life (23 roles). Off-Broadway: Johan Padan (Johan), Big Time (Ted).  Tours with the Company across the U.S., with residencies in New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles, and throughout Europe, Canada, Israel, Taiwan, Japan and Moscow, and has recently been performing Julius Caesar in France. Other: I Am My Own Wife, Boston TheatreWorks; Approaching Moomtaj, New Repertory Theatre; Twelfth Night and The Tempest, Commonwealth Shakespeare Co.; London’s Battersea Arts Center; five productions at Houston’s Alley Theatre, including Our Town (Dr. Gibbs, directed by José Quintero); and many theatres throughout the U.S. Awards: 1994 Elliot Norton Prize for Sustained Excellence, 2000 and 2004 IRNE Awards for Best Actor, 1997 Los Angeles DramaLogue Award (for title role of Shlemiel the First). Television: Julie Taymor’s film Fool’s Fire (PBS American Playhouse), "Unsolved Mysteries," "Del and Alex" (Alex, A&E Network). Film: Mystic River (directed by Clint Eastwood), The Pink Panther II. He is on the faculty of the A.R.T. Institute, teaches acting at Harvard University and Emerson College, and is a graduate of the Yale School of Drama.

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God #1

Isabell Monk

God #1

Isabell Monk

God #2

Harry S. Murphy

Harry S. Murphy, who returns to play Christopher Sly in The Taming of the Shrew and Collie Couch in In the Jungle of Cities, spent many seasons at the American Repertory Theater and appeared in over a dozen productions here, including The King Stag, Angel City, Platonov, 'Tis Pity She's a Whore, As You Like It, The School for Scandal, Alcestis, The Balcony, Sganarelle, Six Characters in Search of an Author, and The Marriage of Figaro. His Broadway credits include Macbeth, Othello, Big Time, and The Good Times are Killing Me. He also appeared in such musicals as The Boys from Syracuse and Happy End (at the A.R.T ), as well as Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well . . . and Good Sport. Other resident credits include Room Service, Henry V, Hedda Gabler, Phaedre, Romeo and Juliet, and Twelfth Night. Mr. Murphy appeared in the feature films Calendar Girl, Eddie Macon's Run, and The Return, and his television credits include Cosby, Law and Order, Spenser for Hire, True Blue, and New York Undercover.

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God #3

Thom Molinaro

God #3

Thom Molinaro

Shen Te/Shui Ta

Priscilla Smith

Shen Te/Shui Ta

Priscilla Smith

Mrs. Shin

Nina Bernstein 

Mrs. Shin

Nina Bernstein 

The Husband

Michael Allard

The Husband

Michael Allard

The Wife

Justine Lewis

The Wife

Justine Lewis

The Nephew/Priest

Patrick Curry

The Nephew/Priest

Patrick Curry

Unemployed Man/The Policeman

Joseph Costa

Unemployed Man/The Policeman

Joseph Costa

The Carpenter

Michael Balcanoff 

The Carpenter

Michael Balcanoff 

Brother

Scott Koh

Brother

Scott Koh

Sister-in-Law

Belle-Linda Halpern

Sister-in-Law

Belle-Linda Halpern

Mrs. Mi Tzu

Sandra Shipley

Mrs. Mi Tzu

Sandra Shipley

Grandmother

Gayle Keller

Grandmother

Gayle Keller

Niece

June LaPointe

Niece

June LaPointe

Boy

Seth Goldstein

Boy

Seth Goldstein

Yang Sun

James Andreassi

Yang Sun

James Andreassi

Old Woman/Mrs. Yang

Pamela Gien

Old Woman/Mrs. Yang

Pamela Gien

As both writer and performer of The Syringa Tree, Pamela Gien won the Obie for Best Play of 2001, the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Solo Performance, the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Solo Performance, a Drama League Honor, and nomination for the John Gassner Playwriting Award. Before its New York run, the play had its world premiere at ACT in Seattle, and Pamela has since performed it in London at the Royal National Theatre, and in Los Angeles. The production was filmed for Trio Arts Channel on television. She is completing the screenplay, and Random House has commissioned her to write it as a novel. Pamela has also written her second screenplay for an upcoming film, The Lily Field, to be produced by Matt Salinger. As a company member of the American Repertory Theater, she appeared in fourteen productions: as Sonya in the premiere of David Mamet's adaptation of Uncle Vanya with Christopher Walken, Anabella in 'Tis Pity She's A Whore with Derek Smith, Estrella in Life's A Dream with Cherry Jones, as Gabriella in Sweet Table at the Richelieu, Marianna in The Miser, and Angela in The King Stag with Thomas Derrah, all directed by Andrei Serban. She played Stella/Ann in The End of the World with Symposium to Follow, directed by Richard Foreman, and performed in two Pirandello productions directed by Robert Brustein, and appeared in Gillette and The Day Room, both directed by David Wheeler. Other theater credits include Lavinia in Titus Andronicus for the Public Theater's New York Shakespeare Festival, Alicia in Piano by Anna Deavere Smith, and Hannah Jelkes in The Night of the Iguana at the LATC, for which she won a Dramalogue Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Theatre. She has performed in the New Works Festival at the Mark Taper Forum, the Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Louisville, and at South Coast Repertory. Her television appearances include guest-starring roles in Tales From the Crypt, Reasonable Doubts, Hunter, Secret Lives, and Into Thin Air. Her film credits include Men Seeking Women and The Last Supper.

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Mr. Shu FU

Alvin Epstein

Mr. Shu FU

Alvin Epstein

Alvin Epstein is a former artistic director of the Guthrie Theater and associate director of Robert Brustein's Yale Repertory Theatre. He has directed over twenty productions (five at the American Repertory Theater, including the inaugural A Midsummer Night's Dream in 1980) and performed in over one hundred (over fifty at the A.R.T.). His A.R.T. roles include Old Man in Lysistrata, the Herald in Marat/Sade, Dionisio Genoni in Enrico IV, John of Gaunt/First Gardener in Richard II, Erich Honecker in Full Circle, McLeavy in Loot, Shabelsky in Ivanov, and Lee Strasberg in Nobody Dies on Friday; Mr. Epstein has also appeared in The Doctor's Dilemma, Antigone, Three Farces and a Funeral, The Winter's Tale, Charlie in the House of Rue, The Merchant of Venice, In the Jungle of Cities, The Bacchae, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, When the World Was Green (A Chef's Fable), Slaughter City, Tartuffe, The Tempest, Beckett Trio, The Threepenny Opera, and Waiting for Godot, among many others. His twenty Broadway and off-Broadway productions include his debut with Marcel Marceau, the Fool in Orson Welles's King Lear, Lucky in the American premiere of Waiting for Godot, Clov in the American premiere of Endgame, Peachum in The Threepenny Opera (co-starring with Sting), and the world premiere of Sam Shepard and Joseph Chaikin's When the World Was Green (A Chef's Fable). For twenty years he and Martha Schlamme performed A Kurt Weill Cabaret on tour in the U.S. and South America and a year's run on Broadway. He has performed at many resident theaters throughout the U.S., in films and on television. Awards include Most Promising Actor ('56 Variety Poll), Brandeis Creative Arts Award ('66), Obie for Dynamite Tonight! ('68), Elliot Norton Award for Sustained Excellence ('96), and the IRNE Award for Best Supporting Actor as Shabelsky in Ivanov ('99). Mr. Epstein teaches acting at the American Repertory Theater/Moscow Art Theater Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard University.

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Stage Managers

Hilary Chaplain, Gayle Keller, Hallie Kuperman

Stage Managers

Hilary Chaplain, Gayle Keller, Hallie Kuperman

Hungry Child

Alfie Wilson/Matthew Dundas

Hungry Child

Alfie Wilson/Matthew Dundas