My Pulp preview of Ellipsis Theatre’s ‘The Caucasian Chalk Circle’

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Simon (Eddie Rothermel) and Grusha (Lucy Price) in Ellipsis Theatre Company’s The Caucasian Chalk Circle.

Bertolt Brecht’s canonical 1944 text The Caucasian Chalk Circle is the kind of play that many of us read in a college course but rarely see produced.

So it’s worth noting that locals will have the opportunity to see Circle on the stage when Ellipsis Theatre Company presents it at the Yellow Barn from May 4-21.

“Ellipsis is always very interested in the act of storytelling … so the fact that it’s so explicit in this play was appealing to us,” said Ellipsis co-founder Joanna Hastings, who’s both playing a role in and co-directing Circle with Scott Screws. “Plus, (Circle’s) so flexible. You can do it in all sorts of ways.”

Circle begins with a prologue. In the wake of a Soviet delegate settling a World War II-era dispute over land, a storyteller steps forward to tell what happens when a Caucasian city’s political revolution ends with a poor kitchen maid (Grusha) fleeing a castle with the assassinated governor’s new baby (Michael). Grusha makes tough sacrifices to keep Michael hidden and safe, but when the war ends and those who previously held power are restored, the baby’s mother comes for her son. She needs him to claim the former governor’s estate, but Grusha has come to love the boy, and the situation leads a similarly beleaguered, war-tested judge to stage a custody test involving a chalk circle. READ THE REST HERE

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