Stephen F. Murray
Directing Portfolio
 

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 the current-day Sydney. Many of the prisoners have been convicted of minor theft (stealing a loaf of bread was crime enough to earn deportation) and many of their wardens are military men who fought and lost the war against the American colonies. Both groups sense they 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