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The Commons
The Arts

Apron Theater stages production of 'Mother Courage' at Next Stage

Next Stage is at 15 Kimball Hill in Putney, across from the General Store. Tickets are $15 and available at www.nextstagearts.org or 802-387-0071.

Originally published in The Commons issue #416 (Wednesday, July 12, 2017). This story appeared on page C2.



PUTNEY—Mother Courage and Her Children, a modern classic drama that changed the direction of theater in the 20th century, is coming to southern Vermont.

The Apron Theater Company, founded by Karla Baldwin and Hallie Flower as Next Stage Arts Project’s theater-company-in-residence, will present Bertolt Brecht’s play at Next Stage July 13-16 and 20-22. The Thursday, Friday, and Saturday performances are at 7:30 p.m. There will be one matinee, Sunday, July 16, at 2 p.m.

The play confronts the savagery of war with sardonic humor, frequently expressed through song, according to a news release. In this production, nine actors play 32 characters: officers, soldiers, peasants, a prostitute, a cook, a chaplain, Mother Courage’s two sons and mute daughter.

Bertolt Brecht created a new kind of theater for what he called the “dark times” in which he lived — theater that disdained the illusions of naturalism and the cozy conventions of middle class comedy to address head-on the political and social forces that were overturning the lives of ordinary people.

He set Mother Courage during the Thirty Years War of the 1600s, a period as vivid in the memory of his native Germany as the Civil War is for us. But he was thinking about his own time. He had fled from the Nazis in the 1930s. Fascism was ascendant, threatening all of Europe, fomenting anti-Semitism and racial prejudice. War would come in a few months.

Karla Baldwin directs this production, and Christopher Emily Coutant takes on the role of the battlefield market woman.

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