NEW DELHI: In the midst of surrounding decadence, how do you decide what is good? Is goodness a constant or a variable? More importantly, is goodness objective or subjective? These are some questions that German dramatist Bertolt Brecht’s famous play, The Good Person of Szechwan (English), attempts to explore. Brecht wrote the play in collaboration with Margarete Steffin and Ruth Berlau in the 1940s. But the play is as relevant today as it was back then.
Directed by Sanjay Kumar of Pandies Theatre, the 100-minute play has Sukanya, Satya and Saksham as the three lead characters. “The original play has one lead character but we have split it into three characters. It is the same person having three different identities,” says Kumar, adding though the theme of the play remains the same as penned by Brecht, the story has been contemporised to suit modern times.
The group’s old hand, Swapna Priya Manna, plays the water seller while the founding member Sameer Bhargava enacts the role of one of the gods. The person looking for goodness is played by Nirbhay.
While the original story revolved around a young prostitute as she struggles to lead a life that is “good” as prescribed by the gods, Kumar’s rendition shows her as an entrepreneur trying to make ends meet in these brutal times. In the original, the woman invents an alter ego to protect herself and in the play, she invents three guises.
“It is an old play by Brecht but still relevant. What we term as goodness is a collective decision, and it is something that keeps evolving constantly and continuously. It is our job to find it. And this is what we want to convey to audiences,” says Kumar.
The Pandies’ presentation of Brecht’s iconic script sees it as already moving towards participatory theatre where the audience and the actors work together to frame an ethics for the disintegrating world in which we live.
As we search, along with the three gods, for the good person, the quest becomes of creating a good world, of improving our world. His plays are dedicated to not just talking about the world we live in or even analysing that world but about changing it for the better.
On: February 15-16, 7:00pm
Where: Stein Auditorium, IHC