SCC Film and Theatre conclude “Good Person of Szechwan” run

A dedicated cast of students put a contemporary spin on the Brecht classic


Courtesy of LCTHD

A still photograph from a separate performance of “The Good Person of Szechwan.” Written in the 1930’s and 1940’s by German playwright Bertolt Brecht, the play remains a classic and one of Brecht’s most highly-regarded works.

Licia Torres, Reporter, Scottsdale Chronicle

The Film and Theatre Department at Scottsdale Community College recently put a modern twist on the Bertolt Brecht play “The Good Person of Szechwan,” and delivered a powerful message in the process.

The play concluded its run at SCC last week as director Elaine “E.E.” Moe and over 25 actors collaborated with a production team of 20 theatre students to put on the play, which was performed five times in the school’s Performing Arts Center on March 6 and 7 and March 11 and 12.

Moe, an adjunct professor in acting, directing and play writing at SCC, said she chose the play because of the unique qualities it retains – such as how it addresses persistent social ills.

“I felt that his message is still so relevant today in terms of the class struggle,” Moe said. “Whether it’s in America or what we see around the world…how politics, how the disparity in terms of true integration of people and ideas. It was important that we address those issues.”

The stage setting was that of a poor village, replete with worn out and dilapidated shacks which disappeared when the actors came on stage with their glittery costumes and masks. The three gods, beautiful and seductive, were reminiscent of the characters in the George Miller-directed film “The Witches of Eastwick.” The message was serious yet comical in many ways.

“There is also immense humor to it,” Moe said. “Brecht allows us to take a look at the ridiculous side of ourselves.”

Some of the props on stage consisted of retail store signs from Walmart, H&M and others that contributed to the message of the play in modern times.

“The students brought those in and they were part of a conceptual idea that had to do with unfair practices within businesses,” Moe said. “We now know that Walmart is going to be upping the living wage scale.”

“The Good Person of Szechwan” has been entered in the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. If you missed it, you missed one of the biggest productions at Scottsdale Community College.

“One of the reasons we chose this was what a unique opportunity it was for our students to participate in such really great, great dramatic literature,” Moe said. “Outside of myself and Mandy Embry [Head of Film and Theatre at SCC] every other aspect of this production was student designed, student developed.”