The Caucasian Chalk Circle: A Review

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by Tracey Toh

Two years of practical training culminated in an entertaining and uplifting two-hour performance staged by SRT’s The Young Company. Presenting the critically acclaimed play by Bertolt Brecht as their graduation showcase, the cast took on an ambitious work to display the full range of theatrical talent honed.

As the epitome of epic theatre, The Caucasian Chalk Circle is not an easy play to put up. It follows the adventures of heroine Grusha, taking the audience on a harrowing journey, through the Caucasus, over rickety bridges and raging rivers, deep into the mountains. She is motivated purely by love, the desire to return to her lover Simon and to protect her adopted son Michael. Like Grusha, all the characters are distinctly good-hearted or evil-intentioned; clearly tropes, but captivating nonetheless. This stands as testament to the actors’ ability to make each scene believable despite the removed setting and caricaturised characters. In particular, the witty and endlessly amusing narrator, known as Singer, brought the plot to life and gave the play’s political commentary its tone of satire.

There was much zeal in the staging of this parable, interspersed with spirited dancing and soulful singing. It was by turns hilarious and heart-wrenching, with agonising dilemmas and more than one forgotten line, but a crowd-pleasing ending. The performance was imperfect, but it was heartening to see such youthful vigour and enthusiasm in our local theatre.