The Good Person of Szechwan

The Good Person of Szechwan was a theatre production by The Norwegian Theatre, produced in 2012, based on the play by Bertolt Brecht.

Philip Tiedemann directed it.

Ane Dahl Torp won The Hedda Award 2012 in the category of best leading actress for the role of Shen Te. 

The Hedda jury gave the following reason:

"This year's winner has during the past ten years interpreted highly diverse roles, serious, less serious, classic and modern. Outside of her regular theatre she has taken part in an unabashed farce, but also in a sombre documentary drama, and in addition she has found the time to become a prize-awarded movie actress. She gets the award for her nuanced, credible and thorough performance of a warm, naïve and goodhearted woman who in meeting with the harsh reality of life sees no other alternative than changing her gender. The award she gets for her excellent, convincing interpretation of Szechwan's good person Shen-Te, and her tough cousin Shui-Ta at The Norwegian Theatre.

The best leading actress award goes to Ane Dahl Torp."


(Objekt ID 28806)
Object type Production
Premiere January 13, 2012
Produced by The Norwegian Theatre
Based on The Good Person of Szechwan AKA The Good Woman of Szechwan AKA The Good Person of Sichuan AKA The Good Person of Setzuan by Bertolt Brecht
Audience Adults
Audience size 9793
Number of events 25
Language Norwegian Nynorsk
Keywords Theatre, Drama
Running period January 13, 2012  —  March 13, 2012
Duration 2 hours, 35 minutes, including an interval

At the webpage of The Norwegian Theatre the following, among other things, is written about The Good Person of Szechwan:

"Three Gods, tired of life, decide to test the prostitute Shen Te: If she can prove that it is actually possible to be good in a world where poverty has driven people to become cynical and egoistic, they do not need to change the world.

As thanks to Shen Te for giving the Gods a place to spend the night in the city of Szechwan, they give her money so that she can buy a little tobacco shop and start a new and better life. But it will be seen that it is hard to survive in Szechwan just by being good. If one is to be good, one has to be evil, too. Brecht's good person has to split - into the good person Shen Te, and her evil cousin, Shui Ta. 

In director Philip Tiedemann's hands Szechwan becomes an Asia-inspired metropolis inhabited by clown-like caricatures, malnourished, fat and self-centred people. In a modern, imaginative and thoroughly composed performance with musicality, burlesque humour and an overdone, luscious expression he underlines the comedy and the serious side of Brecht in a refreshing manner. At the same time the play becomes scarily topical. Perhaps we Norwegians are about to become as greedy and self-centred as the people of Szechwan?

Director Philip Tiedemann, composer Ole Schmidt, stage designer Etienne Pluss and costume designer Stephan von Wedel all come from Germany and are used to working together. In recent years they have staged several plays together at Brecht's own theatre in Berlin, to excellent reviews. Tiedemann is known to find the irony and comedy in Brecht and to make him entertaining and topical, as Brecht was regarded in his own time. At Berliner Ensemble Tiedemann's production of A Respectable Wedding has been performed for full houses for more than ten years, and it is still running.

From February 15th Marie Blokhus plays the role of Shen Te."


The Norwegian Theatre,, 31.05.2013,

The Hedda Awards, 29.05.2012,

Performance dates
January 13, 2012Hovudscenen, The Norwegian Theatre Opening night
Press coverage

Writer and date unknown, Klassekampen [Oslo]:
"Philip Tiedemann consistently promotes the theatrical dimension in Brecht's fable, and the ensemble gives life to a number of cliché-like characters with surplus energy and humour."

Writer and date unknown, Dagsavisen [Oslo]:
"[...] a coherent whole in Tiedemann's production, stylistically characterised by his brothers in arms' stage design and costumes."

Writer unknown, Formsikker og sexy Brecht (literally: Form-confident and sexy Brecht), 17.01.2012, Aftenposten [Oslo]:
"Perhaps we needed an Ane Dahl Torp to remind us that sex and economy go together in Brecht. [...] And with Sigve Bøe's speech to the audience the performance hits the right tone 100 percent of the time, until the very last tone."