The university where I work is presenting its production of The Good Woman of Setzuan this weekend, and Susan and I went to see it along with several friends from the university. Beforehand we all gathered for supper at China Doll, a local Chinese restaurant, to socialize in a locale befitting the play itself (which is set in China). We had a great meal and a nice visit with several people whom I don't see regularly.
There weren't many people in the audience, and there were even fewer remaining after intermission. Do you know the play? It's a parable, heavy on the symbolism and metaphor. Some audience members might have been put off by the stylized masks that everyone wore throughout, by the heavy accents of the many international students in the cast, by the mix of surreal elements with realistic plot, by the occasional songs that characters would stop the action for and grab a microphone to perform directly to the audience, by the three-hour running time, by the frigid temperature in the theater, by the play's demand that we consider the effects of capitalism and consumerism on a society's morality (and the director explicitly pointed out the connection to recent economic events and swindling investors in America), etc.
As for myself, I quite enjoyed the work of several performers in particular and laughed out loud at some jokes that caused no reaction whatsoever from other audience members. There were some fun group scenes, well staged as is characteristic of this director's work. And I'm often pleasantly surprised by the technical elements, including the simple but effective way that changes of setting were shown by moving a wooden doorway from one area of the stage to another. All in all, it was a fun themed night out with my wife and some of our friends.