The Caucasian Chalk Circle

Brian Kulick + The Caucasian Chalk Circle
Sunday, December 11 th, 2016 at 00:12 am Dr. Joy Browne
Director (s):
Brian Kulick
Starring:
Christopher Lloyd, Elizabeth Davis, Mary Testa, Jason Babinsky, Tom Riis Farrell, Alex Hurt, Deb Radloff
Genre:
Off-Broadway Play, Celebs on Stage
Theme:
Classic Brecht

The Caucasian Chalk Circle is a very badly named play by Bertolt Brecht, which I had never seen before, and they made it into a musical that the only two people who you’ll recognize in the cast are Christopher Lloyd and Mary Testa, both of whom are good. The story takes place during the Russian Revolution, and a very rich family is so busy trying to get their good clothes into the sled before the Cossacks take over, that they leave their infant behind who is picked up by the kitchen maid who has just been proposed to by her boyfriend, the soldier, who is now going off to war. What occurs on a very bare stage, using mostly luggage as props, is that she decides she needs to take care of the kid and get him out of dodge because he’s the heir to the Grand Duke and if found would be killed. This was described by Bertolt Brecht as when the Hammer and Sickle was replaced by the Coca Cola sign, so it’s classic Brecht; realign against the land of gentry and the dignity of the working class and yada yada. I kind of liked it, except that the pacing was Siberian. It was so slow! You felt like you were watching snow fall or paint dry or something. And to make it even slower, they have a 15 minute segment about how the village idiot gets elected judge. I know this is classic Brecht, but it just went on too long and we didn’t care about it, and we wanted to get back to the story of what would happen to the kid and the solemn twist in the end, which is the judge having to decide who the real mother is: the kitchen maid who’s raised the kid since he was three years old, or the mother who left him behind. I really did like it, and it’s an interesting story with some good acting and clever staging, it’s just too long. If it were a little shorter, I’d give it four stars, as it is I’m going to stretch it and give it three and a half.

Joy Meter