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Brechts The Good Woman of Setzuan debuts in late March

The Lehigh University Department of Theatre will present The Good Woman of Setzuan, Bertolt Brecht’s famous parable about the search for goodness in an evil world, at the Zoellner Arts Center’s Diamond Theater on March 31-April 2, 5-8 at 8 p.m.; 2 p.m. Sunday.

The Good Woman of Setzuan is one of the best-known works of Bertolt Brecht, widely considered to be the most influential European playwright of the 20th century. Written in 1939-40, the play is set in the fictional half-westernized city of Setzuan. It tells the story of Shen Te, a young prostitute who is given the opportunity to pursue a new way of life by three visiting deities. In order to succeed at living a life of goodness, she must create an alter-ego who can ruthlessly protect her interests. Brecht examines the nature of morality in an ultra-competitive world in this modern parable.

The show will be directed by Pam Pepper, a professor of theatre as well as the Associate Dean for Faculty and Staff in the College of Arts and Sciences. She is a past chairperson of the department of theatre. Pepper directed Lehigh’s recent productions of Desire Under the Elms, Night Sky, All that Fall, Macbeth, Electra, Curse of the Starving Class, and Hunting Cockroaches. She has worked in professional theatre as a director, literary manager and administrator and came to the Lehigh Valley as the associate director of the Pennsylvania Stage Company.

Pepper was the Region II chair for KC/ACTF’s playwriting awards committee and received the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival’s Medallion of Honor for her years of dedicated service to that organization. She has an MFA in directing from Ohio University and is a member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers.

The cast includes Lehigh students Brittany Vasta as Shen Te, Bess Rowen as Mrs. Shin, Devin Dobson as Yang Sun, Kareem Lucas as Wong, Hilary Kissinger as Shu Fu, Justin Howe as God One, Paul Fabré as God Two and Max Schwendner as God Three.

Additional cast members include Rae Albee, Bill Baskerville, Michelle Beckerman, Michael Ramses Cloud, Dylan Coonrad, Lauren Cuoco, Nina Granberry, Noel McLaren, Tom Prue, Tim Syciarz, Justin Wilson, Bing Xie and Marsden Black Francis (the four-year-old son of associate professor of theatre Drew Francis).

Gino Ng provides the scenic design and current student Travis Kerr is in charge of lighting design for the production. Associate professor of theatre Erica Hoelscher is in charge of the costume design. In addition, Erik Lawson handles the sound design, while professor of practice Eugene Albulescu along with current Lehigh student Asher Christl composed original music for the production.

Tickets to The Good Woman of Setzuan are available for $10. Call 610-758-2787 (7LU-ARTS) or visit Zoellner Ticket Services Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 90 minutes before curtain, or order online. Discounts are available. For further information, images, and interviews, please contact Zoellner Marketing at (610) 758-5425.

Posted on Wednesday, March 15, 2006

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