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Mother Courage was first performed in Zurich in 1941 and is usually seen as Brecht's greatest work. Remaining a powerful indictment of war and social injustice, it is an epic drama set in the seventeenth century during the Thirty Years' War. The plot follows the resilient Mother Courage who survives by running a commissary business that profits from all sides. As the war claims all of her children in turn, the play poignantly demonstrates that one can profit from the war without being subject to its terrible cost also. This translation by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner is contemporary and lively, with accessible and humour language, an easy conversational flow, sympathetic, understandable characters and humour. Kushner makes a classic play which is toriously difficult to perform both stage and reader friendly. It was staged at the National Theatre directed by Deborah Warner and starring Fiona Shaw in September 2009.
Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956) is acknowledged as one of the great dramatists whose work has had a considerable influence on the theatre. His landmark plays include The Threepenny Opera, The Life of Galileo, and The Caucasian Chalk Circle. Tony Kushner is best known for his two-part epic, Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes and he has since emerged as one of America's most gifted playwrights. He is the recipient of a Pulitzer Prize for Drama, an Emmy Award, two Tony Awards, three Obie Awards, an Oscar nomination among many others.