Already closed | 2h 0m | Brooklyn

The Good Soul of Setzuan

From 21 member  reviews
Members say: Ambitious, Slow, Entertaining, Quirky, Confusing

About the show

Irondale's production of Brecht's 1945 fable is reset in the playwright’s room, mirroring his practice when he was kept in exile in the United States during World War 2.  More…

From the show:

In the comedic pessimism of The Good Soul of Setzuan, this 1945 fable about the brutalizing nature of poverty, still remains ominously apt, exploring the lengths to which one must go to keep clean in a dirty world. The parable follows Shen Tei, the kind-hearted, penniless prostitute, found by a trio of Gods to be the only good person in town. With her goodness impossibly tested by a world that rewards evil, she is forced to disguise herself as a savvy businessman male cousin, Shui Ta, to master the ruthlessness necessary to be a “good person.” For Brecht, and mirrored in the climate of today, doing good and surviving are not compatible and enlists the audience to help determine how the story should end.

2h 0m | Already closed | Irondale Center (Brooklyn)

Member Reviews (21)


Ambitious, Slow, Entertaining, Quirky, Confusing
Avg Score

Clever, Slow, Entertaining

See it if It is a show that needs attention paid. Brecht writing about Chinese culture.

Don't see it if Can be slow and confusing as well as sloppy at times.

Enervated, Unsure, Broadly comic

See it if you need to see one of Brecht’s truly great parable plays, even if it’s in an adaptation that squanders the original play’s power.

Don't see it if you are not a big fan of comedy that is so broad that it rarely lands a laugh.

Also I am in favor of adapting the classics. Brecht himself was especially ... Read more Read less

Dizzying, Entertaining, Quirky, Thought-provoking, Great singing

See it if you like updated works that comment on the current ills in our society. Some good music and acting help to make one think about these issues

Don't see it if you aren't up for an uneven work that runs long with projections and lots of cast movement on a rather large stage with corny props/costumes

Also Hard-working cast in multiple roles.

Relevant, Great acting, Slow, Disappointing, Ambitious

See it if You want to support this production including the cast who made a Valiant effort. The 2nd act was much better than the 1st act.

Don't see it if Because the script at times was poorly written. The direction often was amateurish. The play was too long & needed editing in the 1st act.

Cliched, Slow, Indulgent, Confusing, Ambitious

See it if You like Brecht. You like really long quirky plays.

Don't see it if It's really long. Also, Brecht probably has no business writing a play about Chinese culture.

Fresh, enthusiastic ensemble, Quirky, Relevant, Entertaining, Ambitious

See it if You’re up for a fun approachable & bare-bones Brecht in a great space, the affable cast playing to & with the audience; fine band & vocals.

Don't see it if You dislike Brecht, allegorical plays or questions like can an honorable soul stay whole in a corrupt world—the answer may not be satisfying

Also The Irondale Ensemble Project has been at it for years, filling a need... Read more Read less

Dizzying, Ambitious, Relevant, Quirky

See it if You enjoy Brecht and don’t mind some updates

Don't see it if You don’t like actors playing multiple roles or audience interaction

Slow, Funny, Entertaining

See it if It's funny. It's a little long. The cast are all having a blast, and that's infectious. There are video elements that enhance the experience

Don't see it if rather than detracting from it. It's worth your time, but it's probably not going to be the best play you see this year.

Indulgently long, Resonant

See it if into an improvisational-style interpretation of a classic.

Don't see it if a purist, or allergic to indulgence.

Also There is a great interpretation hiding here:... Read more Read less

Great acting, Relevant, Funny, Absorbing

See it if Well acted,directed,@times slow dealing w/ a basic human issue:how to stay a good person in a money centered society. Themes of identity,*

Don't see it if Unfamiliar w/Brecht's play;u don't mind cuts of an hour to original script,nor mind that play leaves more quest than ans: typical of Brecht

Also *success, failure, wealth & poverty.... Read more Read less

Quirky, Dragged on, Slow, Entertaining, Ambitious

See it if You want to see a group of good actors attempt to translate and interpret a complex piece to make it More relevant. It is great at times.

Don't see it if If you don’t want to sit the ough a long show. It is choppy and doesn’t work well all if the time. It takes some effort but some is great!

Quirky, Profound, Intelligent, Cliched

See it if You would enjoy a modern retelling of the classic yet relevant theme of being good to fellow mankind.

Don't see it if You don’t enjoy reinterpreted versions of classic productions.

Also This was a very quirky production with certain original dialogue maint... Read more Read less

Slow, Funny

See it if a very game effort to deal with a famous and famously difficult to produce play

Don't see it if not everything works

Great acting, Ambitious, Clever

See it if (Already closed) You want something different and more serious than theusual community theater stuff (theater was in Brooklyn).

Don't see it if You like plays that have resolutions. You like more traditional theater

Also I was afraid that this would be too absurdist or avant garde but it wo... Read more Read less

Disappointing, Confusing

See it if Like plays with complicated story lines and if you like live music included in the show.

Don't see it if If you would rather see a show with a more easy to follow subject line with a more extravagant setting.

Slow, Disappointing, Cliched

See it if like interpretations that stick close to the original plot., committed actors, story theater style.

Don't see it if Too long. No dramatic tension. If you want big production values this is not for you.

Great acting and great music in a sometimes confusing play

See it if You like Brecht told in a sort of modern way. This production had great acting but the writing was confusing. It was a little too long

Don't see it if you like a tidy story with a clear message

Also The second act was better than the first. I enjoyed the contemporary m... Read more Read less

Quirky, Refreshing, Entertaining, Funny, Ambitious

See it if you want to have fun with that old dark Brecht. These people are like the good old days of theater: energetic and full of love.

Don't see it if you want polish, sets, costumes and refined acting. This is seat of your pants fun...wth a message.

Weird, Disappointing, Confusing, Ambitious

See it if you're looking for a community atmosphere-type show with live music and an earnest effort.

Don't see it if you're looking for a coherent night of theatre that has something to say. Also don't see it if you actually want to see Brecht's work.

Also The most prevalent thing I can say about this show is that it is very,... Read more Read less

Confusing, Long, Clever, Entertaining

See it if you like plays that pull in the audience, have actors wearing multiple hats, and make points on current political events.

Don't see it if you find it difficult to keep track of which character an actor is playing and find 2 1/2 hour plays long. But the acting is enthusiastic!

Thought-provoking, Slow, Intelligent, Ambitious

See it if You want a quiet unusual night at the theater in Brooklyn.

Don't see it if If you don't like Brecht

“The Good Soul of Setzuan” hasn't been reviewed by any Critics (yet!)

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Cast & Creatives (3)