Mac already garnered a substantial amount of praise from New York critics for his dual performance as the endlessly agreeable young prostitute Shen Te and her hardhearted male alter ego Shui Ta in the Foundry Theatre's off-off-Broadway run at La MaMa last February. Mac returns to the production, ready to dig even deeper into Brecht's text and the questions it poses about pursuing a "good" and affable life without being devoured by the thundering herd.
…And he couldn't be happier about it.
Do you see yourself as more of a Shen Te or a Shui Ta? I'm definitely both. I think we all are.
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- PHOTO CALL: Taylor Mac Stars in The Foundry's Good Person of Szechwan at The Public | Playbill.
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I'm pretty balanced within the two. I can be a jerk sometimes but I think my instinct is always to go to the nice place. That's my Waspy upbringing. Sometimes my inner demon comes out…Unfortunately. After living with these two characters for so long, do the play's questions about balancing your inner yin and yang spill over into your everyday conversations?
It becomes a constant conversation.
I just made a dinner reservation the other night for my lover's birthday, and they called back and said, "Oh, we made a mistake, we're booked that night. I'll find another restaurant. Are you saying there's room for me? You have to pull out your Shui Ta — your inner bad person — in order to get what you want in this world.
Theater that is purely didactic — too much Lehr — often gets stuck at the intersection of different dogmas.
- The Theatre: “Good Person of Szechwan” | The New Yorker.
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One bad idea brings down the whole philosophy. Which is why the quandaries Brecht cared so desperately about, and wanted to investigate through theater, should never be offered simply as math problems, requiring moral protractors and mental exertion. They need glitter, too. Already a subscriber? Log in or link your magazine subscription.
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