(LENOX, Mass.) – Academy Award-winner Olympia Dukakis and OBIE Award-winner John Douglas Thompson star in a new production of Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage and Her Children, about an artful canteen woman with the Swedish Army intent on keeping her business and family alive amidst the destruction of war, at Shakespeare & Company’s Tina Packer Playhouse through Sunday, August 25, 2013.
Considered by many to be one of the greatest plays of the 20th century, Mother Courage and Her Children is set against the backdrop of the Thirty Years War of the seventeenth century. Written by Brecht in 1939 in response to the German invasion of Poland, the play still resonates today, providing a profound insight into the moral implications of war.
Director Tony Simotes sets the play traditionally, during the period of the Thirty Years War — one of the longest conflicts in European history. The decades between 1618 and 1648 brought violence, cruelty, plague, and famine across Europe. Yet, despite the bleak milieu of a war torn nation, Mother Courage and Her Children is filled with plenty of humor, music, dance, and song.
Olympia Dukakis has previously performed the role of Mother Courage to great critical acclaim. As in last year’s Shakespeare & Co. production of The Tempest, she will be joined onstage by her actor brother, Apollo Dukakis.
John Douglas Thompson won praise last summer for his portrayal of jazz trumpeter Louis Armstrong in Satchmo at the Waldorf at Shakespeare & Co. Thompson’s classical work, which includes title role performances in both Othello and Richard III, both of which he worked on with Simotes at Shakespeare & Company, has prompted the New York Times to describe him as “one of the most compelling classical stage actors of his generation.”