Bertold Brechts' A Good woman of Setzuan, becomes Sichuaner Sukanya courtesy of the translator who was instrumental in putting the play in Bangladeshi context. Yesterday the play saw its staging at Mahila Samity Mancha. Theatron, the group behind the production, and its crew has already earned kudos for their venture in the past, las evening was no exception.
Directed by Smarat Pramanik, the play was translated by Mamun Haque. The translator had the luck to see the staging of the play in Germany way back in 1993. Mamun was so inspired by its plotline that he immediately visualised a vernacular version in his mind. Written by Brecht in 1938-1940, the theatre troupe Theatron has been staging the play in Dhaka since last September.
The play starts with three gods arriving in a poverty-stricken city named Setzuan. The story unfolds with three gods roaming about the city seeking shelter. They gradually discover that no one was willing to take them in for the night. In the end a sex worker offers shelter and they gladly accept. Pleased by the act of kindness, the gods give her some money with which she starts a shop. The play is cast around how this lowly creature attempts to live a normal life as a shop owner against the social prejudices and other dramatic turns of events that finally lands her in jail.
People's false allegations against her at first disrupt her marriage and then she got dragged into the court after some people accuse her of committing a murder. The gods eventually leave the earth without providing any final solution to the moral chaos they initially wanted to assuage.