Stephen F. Murray
Director & Playwright

Our Country's Good 

by Timberlake Wertenbaker

Promethean Theatre Ensemble 

at the Athenaeum, Chicago, IL

March 17 - April 7, 2007

In 1788 British prison ships, under the command of Arthur Phillip, arrive at Botany Bay, Australia, near present-day Sydney. Many of the prisoners had been convicted of minor theft (stealing a loaf of bread was crime enough to earn deportation) and many of their wardens were military men who fought and lost the war against the American colonies. Both groups sensedthey have been condemned to exile. 
    At a time of extremely low supplies, barbaric punishments, and low hopes, Lieutenant Ralph Clark is assigned to stage a production of George Farquhar's comedy The Recruiting OfficerUsing convicts, many of them illiterate, as his cast, Clark has to learn to see them as equals in his task of sharing theater’s civilizing influence. The project immediately takes on political dimensions and meets with opposition among the other officers alienating Clark from many of his superiors. As rehearsals progress, the convicts find themselves questioning the way their society has defined them, allowing Clark to understand the importance of his task. Both funny and poignant, Our Country’s Good examines the worth of each of us through the redeeming and transforming powers of theater.


Murray’s and his team rise to the challenge though it’s only Promethean’s second main-stage production, achieving more than some companies 20 years their senior could.”

5 out of 6 stars!

Kris Vire

TimeOut Chicago

The persuasive ensemble creates characters who mirror various reactions to art then and now. At every turn the parallels to modern penal camps carry this history play from the past into the present.”

Lawrence Bommer

Chicago Reader 

Sam Wootten as Ralph Clark, Ned Record as Arscott, and Courtney Abbott as Dabby Bryant
Courtney Abbott as Dabby and Mark Pracht as Major Ross
Mark Pracht as Major Ross and Dan Granata as Sideways
Brian Pastor as Wisehammer
Kyla Embrey as Liz Morden and David Goodloe as Caesar