The Caucasian Chalk Circle

PosterWritten by Bertolt Brecht, translated by Ross Manson

Directed by: Alex Fallis​

Performances: March 15-17 & 22-24, 2007

Venue: Theatre of the Arts, Modern Languages Building 

The Caucasian Chalk Circle is one of Brecht’s finest works and acknowledged as being one of the great plays of the 20th century. The play is a unique blend of high theatricality, folk storytelling, music and even dialectical inquiry. This production will be the first full production of a new Canadian translation of the play by the award-winning Ross Manson, and has original music by John Millard. The play is directed by guest director Alex Fallis.

The play tells the story of a young woman, Grusha, who finds a helpless child and gradually becomes the child’s ‘mother’. "Brecht asks us to examine our ideas of motherhood, usefulness, and morality through this brilliantly constructed series of episodes, guided by a group of singers who narrate and comment on the story. We meet many memorable characters during Grusha’s journey — among them her questioning fiancé Simon, the imperious Natella Abashwili, and the extremely idiosyncratic judge, Azdak.

Ross Manson’s translation was straightforward, muscular and Canadian, while maintaining the sly wit and love of ambiguity that is an important part of Brecht’s greatness. John Millard’s music was a witty mix of musical languages, with folk, country, jazz, German cabaret and even the Oktoberfest bands of his Kitchener childhood coming together to make a totally individual and wonderful whole.