Photo courtesy of Nathaniel P. Reid
UA Theatre and Dance will present the play “The Caucasian Chalk Circle” this week. The show, originally written by Brecht, follows a war-torn village as its people try to recuperate after the violence.
Annie Levy, who heads the MFA Directing program here at the university, will direct the show. She chose “The Caucasian Chalk Circle” partly because Brecht, a German playwright and poet, wrote plays that are typically more difficult than others to produce. Brecht’s influential writing presented an intriguing creative challenge.
“I wanted to give the aspiring theatre makers in our department the chance to challenge themselves… either as a performer, designer or audience,” Levy said.
She elaborated that as a director, when casting other non-academic shows, she’s impressed by actors who’ve been in Brecht shows. Levy wanted to give Alabama students that opportunity.
Additionally, she was drawn to this show in particular because of its unique plot line and conclusion.
“It’s one of the only Brecht plays where everything turns out well for the protagonist,” Levy said. “I thought a happily ever after would be a nice change of pace.”
Both Levy and her assistant director, Noah Coon, were interested in working on this show because of how relevant the plot’s issues are to current events.
“I also was very moved by the content of the play itself,” Coon said. “It’s so relevant in today’s world that I knew I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to help see this brought to life at UA.”
Its relevance in today’s world is also what made the show much different from other shows Coon has worked on in the past. For actress Amber Bird, one of the main differences between “The Caucasian Chalk Circle” and other shows she’s performed in, is the style of the show itself.
“It is very experimental,” she said. “[Brecht] always wanted the audience to be aware that they were watching a performance, and never be completely immersed in the experience. So while watching the show, audience members will be able to see us changing into costumes, watching the show in the background, and making all the sound effects ourselves.”
Amber Bird plays a few different characters in the show, but her favorite is Prince Kazbeki, because of his wild and positive persona. She also portrays a Monk and an old man. While all the characters have been interesting to learn, she’s had a lot of fun characterizing the Monk.
“The Monk is very drunk, so that has been a lot of fun to experiment with, because I have to be fully invested in being inebriated, but still be aware of the scene going on around me,” Bird said.
She also enjoyed learning from her castmates, and said that this was one of the most collaborative shows she’s ever worked on.
“We have all experimented with our various characters and learned from those around us to make our performances better,” she said.
Coon also enjoyed the collaborative atmosphere throughout rehearsals.
“All of the people in it are so unique and different, but they manage to come together to create a piece of art. It’s their passion for making art that turns a cast of friendly acquaintances into a proper family,” Coon explained.
The cast will perform the show in the Marian Gallaway Theatre at 7:30 p.m. from Oct. 3 through 7 and will have a matinee at 2 p.m. on the Oct. 8. Tickets are $14 for UA students and can be purchased online at the UA Theatre and Dance department’s website, www.theatre.ua.edu.
Article can be found at: http://www.cw.ua.edu/article/2017/10/the-caucasian-chalk-circle-to-run-this-week-at-marian-gallaway-theatre