“Brechtfest” presented by The Horse in Motion at Can Can in Pike Place Market

This fall theatre season has included a variety of offerings that experiment with new formulations and new production techniques. Among them is “Brechtfest” that plays Monday nights and tests the idea of breakfast theatre. That’s right, come at 11:00 am on Sat. or Sun. mornings for a three course breakfast served before the performance and between intermissions of an original work (directed by Bobbin Ramsey) that combines elements of three Bertolt Brecht plays: “The Good Person of Szechwan,” “Baal,” and “The Threepenny Opera.”

It all begins when Nathan Brockett as a very suave Macheath, welcomes us with “Mac the Knife,” one of Kurt Weill’s (Brecht’s collaborator) most popular songs—a perfect beginning to set the scene. Brockett’s in good voice as are the other players, all accompanied by a well-tuned four-piece orchestra. There’s a tiny stage up front, but the action also takes place on the “runways” between tables where the audience eats and drinks. This is indeed up-close and personal theatre.

Soon on stage is Shen Te (elegantly played by Shaudi Bianca Vahdat), the good person of Szechwan. Throughout the play she acts in generous fashion, and, of course, it never works well for her. Meanwhile, the treacherous and cruel Baal (played with a sinister bravado by Liza Curtiss) swaggers about doing no good.

In a society where the game is rigged, is it possible to have morals and survive? Where poverty is all around us, can we maintain compassion? Is selfishness a necessary protection? These are just a few of the questions that Brecht and this production address.

This is an ambitious stage project, perhaps too ambitious. It’s a little too long (three hours), and the integration of the three works is a bit uneven.

But I liked it. I loved the ingenuity. I loved the audacity of it. And the performances and music deserve praise. Order your tickets in advance. The house is small and was filled the morning I was there.

Through Oct. 4 at Can Can downstairs at the south end of Pike Place Market, (www.thehorseinmotion.org)

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