Julian Marrin

Sojourn Theatre's Good is based on Bertolt Brecht's Good Person of Szechuan: In Sojourn's version, several gods come to earth searching for a genuinely "good" person, and when they find one, a young woman named Lucy, they bequeath her a car dealership. She is then challenged to run the dealership for a year while maintaining her goodness, which proves difficult since her inclination (to do as much "good" as possible by giving away cars) has disastrous effects on the business.

The most immediately interesting thing about this show is that it's actually staged in the Wentworth Subaru dealership—Sojourn's Artistic Director Michael Rohd told me that Wentworth is a fifth-generation family-owned business, and one of the family members happens to be a fan of the company. So, lucky for Sojourn, they've been given the after-hours run of the place, and they get some amazing use out of it. Action occurs in different rooms, on different levels, in spaces both intimate and vast.

The plot of the show is revealed within the first 10 minutes or so, and then the audience is guided through the building to see the story retold from various perspectives. Each character's perspective is presented in a different style, with the style relating to how the character perceives him or herself. For example, a character who sees himself as sort of an "antihero" gets the full film-noir treatment, complete with shadowy silhouettes and vampy femmes fatales.

Every aspect of Good is strikingly ambitious, from the way the audience is implicated in the action, to the use of multimedia and live music. Ambition brings its own set of challenges, though: The biggest problem with Good is the difficulty sustaining focus. As the audience is moved from room to room, a surprising amount of energy is devoted to jostling for position, trying to decide whether to sit or stand, and making sure that the short lady behind you can see okay—which does, of course, serve the Brechtian purpose of keeping the audience in a state of critical self-awareness, but it also hurts the show's momentum. This will probably work itself out as the ensemble becomes more comfortable working with their audiences, though—and even if it does require patience at times, Good is still one of the most interesting, engaging shows to hit Portland in some time.