The Good Person of Setzuan | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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The Good Person of Setzuan

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Brecht's 1943 play turns the dialectic of Major Barbara in on itself, fusing Machiavellian father and idealistic daughter in a single character. The upshot of the metaphor: market socialism (or any capitalism with a human face) is schizophrenic. This production deftly nails the geopolitical resonance of Brecht's thesis today, from the literal hybrid of the Chinese economy to unaccountable, hypocritical American paternalism there and elsewhere: Iraq, the occupied territories, Haiti. Before a floor-to-ceiling bank of TVs slickly programmed with words and images by video designer Andrew Schneider, the Big Picture Group ensemble--under Roger Bechtel's muscular direction--negotiates Brecht's hairpin rhetorical curves in masterfully emblematic style. Simone Roos's hard-focus turn as the split-down-the-middle heroine is just about perfect. --Brian Nemtusak a Through 7/29: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 PM, Athenaeum Theatre, third-floor studio, 2936 N. Southport, 312-902-1500, $10-$15.

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