The Caucasian Chalk Circle is a fast moving comedy, laced with both romance and suspense and wrapped in a series of haunting songs, with music written specially for this production.
Brecht has been called the grand master of storytelling and this play is widely regarded as one of the greatest plays of the 20th Century. The translation is a very lively and humorous, contemporary interpretation by award-winning playwright Alastair Beaton. If that name is familiar, he was the author of Feelgood which was presented here in 2007 and also the translator of the version of the comedy The Government Inspector which we performed in 2012.
Based on an old Chinese story, Brecht’s play was originally set in the Soviet Union but in this modern version it will be set in a timeless Eastern European State, ravaged by civil war. The villagers of the affected territory are visited by a pompous Government official, sent to take their land away, but they manage to distract the official, by putting on a play within the play, which becomes the “main event”. Also set in a civil war torn land it is a parable about a peasant girl who rescues a baby and becomes a better mother than its wealthy natural parents. But at what cost to her future with her fiancée, who is away fighting in the war?
The play has a vast array of wonderful comic caricatures with whom our heroine, Grusha interacts as she travels with her adopted baby. The “Singer” provides a constant narration of her adventures until eventually she comes before the Judge, Azdak and is reconciled with her fiancée, Simon.
The phrase “modern classic” is sometimes overused, but in this case it is surely most appropriate. Peter Shaffer’s haunting, disturbing, visually unforgettable play “Equus” is known as one of the finest plays of the 20th Century.
Based on a story he was told in the car by a friend of an incident in some stables near to where they were driving, Shaffer attempts to enter the mind of a 17 year old boy who has been sent to a psychiatrist after being convicted of blinding 6 horses with a hoof pick. The psychiatrist has to overcome the boy’s anger and resentment, and whilst trying to get to the truth begins to question the validity of his reasons and his own life.
Adapted from the 1928 novel by Erich Remarque, a veteran of World War One, the play describes the hardships, mental and physical, endured by a group of young soldiers in the trenches. Despite the horrors of war, they endure through friendship and broad, and sometimes bawdy, humour.
We are delighted to have the permission of the Remarque Estate to perform Robin Kingsland’s stunning adaption, first performed by Nottingham Playhouse Theatre Company in 2006.
Whilst the play is about eight German soldiers, the moral behind it, laying bare the futility of war, is of universal application. Our production will mark the 100th Anniversary of the Armistice in November 1918.
This play contains some strong language.
Approximate running time: 2 hours and 20 minutes, including the interval.