Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Theatre: The Caucasian Chalk Circle (★★★★)

by Bertolt Brecht
translated by Ralph Manheim
Black Swan State Theatre Company and The National Theatre of China
Directed by Dr Wang Xiaoying
Designed by Richard Roberts
Costume Designer Zhao Yan
Mask designer Prof Zhang Huaxiang
Lighting design by Mark Howett
Composer/sound designer Clint Bracknell
With Caitlin Beresford-Ord, Adam Booth, Kylie Farmer, Luke Hewitt, Geoff Kelso, Alex Malone, Felicity McKay, Lynette Narkle, Kenneth Ransom, James Sweeny, Steve Turner and Alison Van Reeken
Music performed by Clint Bracknell and Arunachala

Heath Ledger Theatre
Until August 14

The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Bertolt Brecht’s 1944 parable of tyranny and the “terrible temptation to do good”, is based on an ancient Chinese folk story dramatized eight centuries ago as The Circle of Chalk.
The fulcrum of the story, though, is told in many forms in many cultures dating back as far as the legend of the judgment of Solomon.
So there’s a fine sense of closing another circle in this cooperative production of a German play set in the USSR, translated by an American, staged by an eminent Chinese director with a creative team from both China and Australia, performed by an Australian cast, with a deliberate and significant contribution from the inheritors of a living culture with stories that date back tens of thousands of years.
It’s an ambitious culmination of the tenure of Black Swan’s departing artistic director Kate Cherry and the signature piece of the company’s 25th anniversary season.
Happily, the result is a clear and persuasive staging of Brecht’s tale, and a rollicking entertainment to boot.

Read the complete review in The West Australian

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