The Good Person of Setzuan
by Bertolt Brecht
The script of The Good Person of Setzuan describes Setzuan as non-existent city. The story is borrowed from Chinese folk tales: hence the talk of gods descending to earth, and then returning to an apparently indifferent divine realm. While there is in fact a province called Setzuan in northwestern China, we decided to shift our production to an equally fictional version of Indonesia. Why? In Brecht's day the Chinese culture and economy were about as mysterious and emergent as Indonesia is to us today. When we think of China now, we think of a burgeoning capitalist economy. Those little toys which the fast-food chains give away are made possible by Chinese workers who are paid so many cents per hour. In Shanghai millionaires are being made every year, Communist governments notwithstanding. We sought a setting which was mortically mysterious, and then set about subjecting it to the pressures of globalization.