UGA Theatre presents “Mother Courage and Her Children,” written by Bertolt Brecht, translated by Eric Bentley and directed by guest artist Justin Anderson.
Performances will be held in the Fine Arts Theatre on Nov. 10, 15-18 at 8 p.m. and Nov. 12 and 19 at 2 p.m. A ticketed preview performance will be held on Nov. 9 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $18 or $6 for UGA students and can be purchased at ugatheatre.com/mothercourage, by phone at 706-542-4400 or in person at the Performing Arts Center or Tate Center box offices. This event is part of the University of Georgia’s annual Spotlight on the Arts festival.
Set against the backdrop of a post-apocalyptic war, “Mother Courage and Her Children” follows the resilient and enterprising Mother Courage as she traverses and scavenges war-torn landscapes, profiting from the ongoing conflict while providing for her three children. As she navigates this world, Courage must contend with the tragic consequences of prioritizing personal gain over compassion and empathy in Brecht’s timeless critique of war, opportunism and the strength of values in the face of untold adversity.
“Mother Courage and Her Children” is considered a seminal work in Brecht’s oeuvre, offering a searing critique of war that has continued to resonate with audiences the world over since its publication in 1939. Originally set in the 17th century during the Thirty Years War, Anderson chose to stage the play in a non-descript future plagued by the fallout of an apocalyptic war.
“Anytime I’m invited to work on a play, the first question I ask after reading it is ‘Why now,’” said Anderson. “‘Mother Courage’ deals in themes including war, profiteering, capitalism, militarism, political indifference, migration, ethics and morality. By adjusting the setting of the play, you bring attention to these issues and themes and how they apply to today rather than to a particular event in the past.”
As UGA Theatre’s Spotlight on the Arts production, “Mother Courage and Her Children” will offer patrons a unique opportunity to view Brecht’s influential work. Rather than seating in the house, the audience seating will be on stage, surrounding the action of the play.
“Taking inspiration from [Anderson’s] concept, I wanted to reshape the theatrical space in order to allow for a sense of immediacy and intimacy for the audience,” said scenic designer Jack Stoffel, a third-year M.F.A. candidate in scenic and multimedia design.
“The point of ‘Mother Courage,’ and much of Brecht’s work, is to provoke,” said Anderson. “It challenges emotions rather than nurturing them. It provokes thought rather than spoon feeding a particular point of view. My hope is that ‘Mother Courage and Her Children’ stays with the audience long after they leave the theatre.”
“We are proud to offer ‘Mother Courage and Her Children’ as our Spotlight on the Arts production this year,” said Julie Ray, head of the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences’ theatre and film studies department. “So many of its themes are particularly poignant given the state of the world at the moment and we’re hopeful that audiences will walk away from this iteration a bit more enriched by the clarity that theatre—and art in general—can offer in trying times.”