THE CAUCASIAN CHALK THING

by Richard Baines

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THE CAUCASIAN CHALK THING

by Richard Baines

Why tinker with The Caucasian Chalk Circle? It’s a long play. It’s a complicated play. The propaganda can become a bit repetitive. Epic theatre, as Brecht’s theatre is called, is like a row of boxcars, each scene standing on its own, and so the sets are constantly changing. Most school productions would take a knife to the original text.

Our version simplifies and streamlines the production. Extra lines are added without taking away the spirit and mood of the original. There are parts here for twenty or more actors, half of them playing several characters.

But this is Brecht. His poetry is here. His humour is here. His characters continue to be amusing because of their blatantly self-centred approach to life. Many of them are caricatures, but that is what makes them fun to play. This is not Stanislavski. Actors do not need to be talented thespians to take part in a Brecht play.

So ‘have fun with it’ as Drama Directors are wont to say on opening nights.

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