The Good Person of New Haven, Long Wharf Theatre's experimental Bertolt Brecht production cast with professional actors and twenty-four members of the New Haven community, closes June 4. Bill Rauch directs this adaptation, created by the Cornerstone Theatre Company's Alison Carey. Performances began April 28. Long Wharf Theatre artistic director Doug Hughes, struck by the complexity of New Haven's city life, formed the New Haven Project to explore the diversity of the people of the Connecticut town. Work toward that goal began in October 1997, when Hughes discussed the idea with Rauch and Carey. The Cornerstone, based in L.A., was formed upon the notion that society flourishes only when its disparate members come to know and respect each other. The company has since executed community based theater projects in New York and Washington, D.C.
Over the summer of 1999, the Long Wharf held a series of community meetings to select a play. After poring over several works, those involved chose the Brecht piece, seeing many aspects of New Haven life in its themes. The Good Woman of Szechwan concerns Shen Te, a good hearted prostitute who becomes unexpectedly wealthy, but finds the only way she can avoid bankruptcy at the hands of a rapacious community is to invent a ruthless alter-ego, Shui Ta.
Ten professional actors fill the lead roles: Patrice Johnson (Tyesha Shore/Taiwo Highwater), Raul E. Esparza (Eddie), Carol A. Honda (Mrs. Shin), Bill Kux (Angel 2), Brian Nicholas OlivØ\0