Summer 1949 • Vol. XI No. 3 Book Reviews |

Embarrassing Questions

Parables For The Theater: Two Plays by Bertolt Brecht (The Good Woman of Setzuan and The Caucasian Chalk Circle). English versions by Eric and Maja Bentley. Minnesota. $3.50 "How can I be good," asks the worried heroine of the first of these plays, "when everything is so expensive?" To which a god replies, "We can't do anything about that. We mustn't meddle with economics!" This exchange may be said to sum up Bertolt Brecht's contribution to the theatre. Finding it a temple of art or entertainment where man's simple struggle for physical survival was usually either ignored or transmuted into "higher things," he tried to turn it into a forum where embarrassing questions like that of the good woman of Setzuan were not only faced but asked—of the audience. The audience responded much as the Chinese god answered the woman. It listened with interest, occasionally with sympathy—Brecht's great hour was during the great depression, when his version of The Beggar's Opera swept Europe

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