Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Caucasian Chalk Circle

Photo/John Castro

For better or worse, Hipgnosis Theatre Company has put the "fun" in Brecht's The Caucasian Chalk Circle. At times, that means a loss of specificity, and a sacrifice of strong opinion in favor of hammy polemic. At others, it means that straight actors like Rachel Tiemann and comic actors like John Kevin Jones come full circle in their arcs and drive home the vignettes that they, as central characters, link together. Ultimately, the narrow theater is a poor choice for theater-in-the-round, and yet Margo Newkirk's clever and uncluttered direction, Demetrios Bonaros's singing and arrangements, and of course, Brecht's neatly didactic writing, all rise to the occasion and turn out a neat little play that I only wish, like Azdak the judge, had tried neglecting order.

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