Set in a time of revolutionary war, The Caucasian Chalk Circle uses puppets and performing objects, song and dance, martial arts and acrobatics to tell the parable of a kitchen maid who, after rescuing a royal child from certain death, battles greedy merchants, dangerous mountains, menacing soldiers, forced marriage, and lost love. In a carnivalesque court, she faces the ultimate test: the chalk circle.
The play is directed by Sharon Mazer, with combat choreography by Dai Sempai Diana Looser, and original music by Andy Thompson and the Chalk Circle Orchestra.
Brecht wrote The Caucasian Chalk Circle while in exile in America during the Second World War. He took an old Chinese folktale and the story of King Solomon as a starting point, and bringing together bits and pieces of earlier theatrical experiments, he created a new epic theatre that confronts world events through parable, song and dance, and direct audience engagement.
The play is as timely now as it was in its original frame. The Free Theatre is exploiting Brecht's prescriptions for an epic theatre, using an engaging, even romantic, story of love, loss and redemption with a dialectical provocation to contemporary political debate.
Our production is set on a revolving stage in the Old Queen's Theatre and uses an East-West fusion form of Asian combat performance (Zen Do Kai) along with music, song, puppets and performing objects to tell the story in 21st century Christchurch.
The production has been made possible with the support of Creative Communities NZ, Christchurch City.