At UNCSA: In C.P. Taylor’s Good a German academic struggles with his role in the Holocaust
Live music by 20-piece orchestra provides structure for play about motives, morals, decisions and consequences
Oct. 23, 2015
Media Contact: Lauren Whitaker, 336-734-2891, email@example.com
WINSTON-SALEM – A man at his worst, rationalizing bad decisions and less-than-admirable motives, is examined in Cecil Philip Taylor’s Good, presented by the School of Drama and the School of Music at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA). Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 12-14 and 2 pm Nov. 14 in Catawba Theatre of Performance Place on the UNCSA campus at 1533 South Main St. in Winston-Salem.
Drama faculty member and UNCSA alumnus Quin Gordon directs actors from Studio III, the junior class, and UNCSA Symphony Music Director Christopher James Lees conducts a 20-piece orchestra.
Quin Gordon directs Good, presented by the School of Drama and the School of Music at UNCSA.
Tickets are $18 regular and $15 student with valid ID, and are available at www.UNCSAevents.com, or by calling the box office at 336-721-1945.
Good follows John Halder, a literature professor and music enthusiast in the 1930s Germany, as he loses his moral compass amid an ambitious ascent through the Nazi Party. The first act, Gordon says, depicts Halder’s decisions, and the second act depicts the consequences. “Unsurprisingly, in rehearsal we’ve had an easier time putting together the first act of the play,” he said. “The second act has been more arduous.”
Halder, like his colleagues in Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich, makes decisions that result in the mass extermination of Jews. For Gordon and his cast, the play has been a lesson in the power of hate as a political strategy. “Hitler was able to overtake an entire country by tapping into people’s baser instincts,” Gordon said.
“Today, we see this happening all over the globe – politicians appealing to the disenfranchised, stoking the flames of hate toward ethnic minorities. As humans, we are always looking for something to blame that keeps us from reaching our ‘great’ potential.”
The protagonist, Halder, uses his love of music to escape from the madness happening around him, and his part in it. “When we hear the music on stage, we are hearing Halder’s internal experience. Through the music, we begin to identify with Halder,” Gordon said.
Live music both advances the story and gives the play its formal structure, which Gordon calls incredibly fractured. “It sweeps us through a quick succession of scenes that bounce us around in time, similar to the non-linear nature of memory,” he said.
“The play drops us right in the middle of John Halder’s brain and the regrets that haunt him,” Gordon added. In the play’s shattering final scene, Halder comes face to face with the horror of the Holocaust, and not even his love of music can help him escape.
“Given the same time, place and set of circumstances, any one of us could have made the same decisions,” Gordon said. “That’s the greater statement our production is attempting to make. Each of us must justify our actions so we can believe we are good people.”
Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts is America’s first state-supported arts school, a unique stand-alone public university of arts conservatories. With a high school component, UNCSA is a degree-granting institution that trains young people of talent in dance, design and production, drama, filmmaking, and music. Established by the N.C. General Assembly in 1963, the School of the Arts opened in Winston-Salem (“The City of Arts and Innovation”) in 1965 and became part of the University of North Carolina system when it was formed in 1972. For more information, visit www.uncsa.edu.