The Caucasian Chalk Circle

Critics

LemonMeter

97 %

Reviews: 19

Audience

LemonMeter

Reviews: 0

Bertolt Brecht's satiric comedy of war, love and justice. Deep in the Caucasus Mountains of Georgia, a humble kitchen maid named Grusha risks her life to rescue an abandoned baby from civil war. But when the child’s aristocratic mother returns to claim him, the entire social order of a corrupt and violent world is put on trial. July 11-Aug. 26; $35; Antaeus Theatre Company at the Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center, 110 East Broadway, Glendale, CA 91205; (818) 506-1983 or www.antaeus.org.

Reviews

Avatar

Yes, this ensemble is a whirling flurry of activity, representing the highs and lows of the human condition and offering food for thought.  Not only that, collectively they issue a call to action for any sideline sitters among us.

sweet - Bill Reese - Table to Stage - ...read full review


Avatar

Antaeus has worked its usual magic on a difficult play using their always remarkable company as an ensemble, under the notable direction of Stephanie Shroyer, to not only underplay the polemics (peasant v. noble) but find the humanity behind the horrors of war and polluted politics, including invented music by her company to the song lyrics of Brecht...

If you are unaware of this play, do yourself the favor of seeing it as it’s now a classic piece, well-produced here. You’ll have a grand time watching it.

sweet - Dale Reynolds - Hollywood Revealed - ...read full review


Avatar

The Caucasian Chalk Circle is altogether successful and truly skillful as much as it is entertaining, certainly for the Antaeus Theatre Company whose willingness for risk on stage is growing more palpable. - Recommended

sweet - Tracey Paleo - Gia On the Move - ...read full review


Travis Michael Holder

On Frederica Nascimento’s sparse but versatile set with Antaeus’ theatre space opened to the walls for the first time on both sides of the wings, this heartfelt revival explodes with wonder as the 16 dazzlingly committed performers play all the roles, not to mention perform their own musical compositions on their own musical instruments. Alistair Beaton’s sharply contemporary adaptation is superbly staged—no, choreographed—by director Stephanie Stroyer as though we are watching a three-ring circus without elephants or aerialists.

sweet - Travis Michael Holder - Ticket Holders LA - ...read full review


Steven Stanley

While it may not make complete converts of those for whom Brecht rhymes with blech, the Antaeus Theatre Company’s season closer comes pretty darned close. It’s as exhilarating a theatrical experience as you’ll enjoy all summer long.

sweet - Steven Stanley - StageSceneLA - ...read full review


Avatar

Director Stephanie Shroyer has taken masterful hold of Alistair Beaton’s translation of the play with a diverse Ensemble that feel quite comfortable in their many changing roles while never letting us escape the emotional experience nor forget what is at stake.

sweet - Christine Deitner - The Theatre Times - ...read full review


Avatar

Faithfully adhering to Brecht’s characters and plot, the Anta eus ensemble’s abstract style precludes emotional catharsis and ensures we never forget the theatrical artifice we’re witnessing.

sweet - Philip Brandes - LA Times - ...read full review


Avatar

That non-linear forge is what makes this play rather appealing for how it stands, complete with lots of rich dialogue, interesting characters direct from the “old country”, as well as a conclusion where the Georgian village’s state never qualified for a Marshall Plan. Alistair Beaton’s English translation from the original German enhances the for noted productive dialogue that is far better that how an uneducated peasant could normally speak...

It’s not often to see a play as THE CAUCASINA CHALK CIRCLE perform in any legit theater. For those that desire something light and snappy, it’s recommended to venture off to another playhouse. For those that are bold enough to experience a play that is more fruitful in spirit, this is the production to take advantage of. It’s indeed worth its time and space!

sweet - Rich Borowy - Accessibly Live Off-Line - ...read full review


Gil Kaan

Director Stephanie Shroyer's innovative staging and updating of Bertolt Brecht's 1944 THE CAUCASIAN CHALK CIRCLE (using the translation of Alistair Beaton) features a solid ensemble using old-time, theatre magic to fascinate the audience with its tales of World War II tragedies. Liza Seneca imbues her role of Grusha with much heart, sincerity and gumption standing up to all the obstacles (human and natural) along the way to her and baby Mykal's safety.
Gabriela Bonet shines as the inner voice of Mykal with vocals of an angel, as well as, and the sensitive puppeteer of the cloth doll (standing in for Mykal). Bonet, as many others, play a number of roles each. Bonet well utilizes her comic sass and timing in the variety of her other supporting roles.

sweet - Gil Kaan - Broadway World - ...read full review


Avatar

A witty and warm play which has no problem spotlighting justice, corruption, and morality, THE CAUCASIAN CHALK CIRCLE gives the contemporary audience a chance to again appreciate Brecht at his best.

sweet - Elaine Mura - Splash Magazines - ...read full review


Avatar

This current production, adeptly directed by Stephanie Shroyer, brings Brecht’s message of social justice to life in impressive, entertaining fashion. - RECOMMENDED

sweet - Terry Morgan - Stage Raw - ...read full review


Leigh Kennicott

Executed in a mix of song and dance, narration and dumbshow that his own “Epic” effect popularized, Stephannie Shroyer utilizes every inch of Anteaus’ long stage to keep everything moving in a precise kaleidoscope of story and sound.  Anteaus’ strong ensemble ethic is well represented as veterans interchange roles with newcomers and back again.  It’s no use trying to single out any one performance – they are all strong – but each ensemble member brings his or her own distinctive style to the play. Again, Shroyer’s direction comes to the fore, as these actors represent, they do not embody characters.

sweet - Leigh Kennicott - ShowMag - ...read full review


Avatar

Sadly, Antaeus has taken a faithful approach that seems more respectful than revolutionary and more restored than radical...

Antaeus’ saving grace is their talented actors. While this show’s ensemble as a whole feels more like a junior varsity squad for the company, the saving grace of this show is Steve Hofvendahl’s performance as the judge Azdek. Mr. Hofvendahl has an acting style that’s brutally straightforward. It’s almost midwestern in its directness. It’s as if he’ll happily suffer all this theater around him but, dammit, he’s got a story to tell so can we just dispense with all this and get to it. You buy into his performance not because it’s flashy but because it’s undeniable.

sweet-sour - Anthony Byrnes - KCRW - ...read full review


Erin Conley

The cast is exceptional in this fast-moving and demanding piece, easily switching between characters and scenes, often while singing and playing instruments such as the accordion. Hofvendahl really shines in the second act as the witty Azdak takes center stage, and Seneca is affecting as Grusha, whose heart is always in the right place. At the core of the drama is the question of how we can really decide what is best for someone else, or who has a rightful claim to a person or a thing, and the answer presented is a thoughtful one that can be applied to many modern situations.

sweet - Erin Conley - On Stage & Screen - ...read full review


Avatar

It’s Karl Marx meets the Marx Brothers in Antaeus Theatre Company’s adaption of Bertolt Brecht’s 1944 play The Caucasian Chalk Circle. Brecht, who wrote The Threepenny Opera and Mother Courage, is best known for his leftwing agitprop. But many forget what Antaeus wisely remembers – while the German playwright may have been a master polemicist and propagandist (often against the master race) Brecht also had a caustic wit which reaches new heights of Marxist mirth in this production at the Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center.

sweet - Ed Rampell - Hollywood Progressive - ...read full review


Avatar

This current production, adeptly directed by Stephanie Shroyer, brings Brecht’s message of social justice to life in impressive, entertaining fashion...

Director Shroyer uses the 16-person ensemble well and stages Brecht’s chaos with stylish intelligence...

For a seventy-plus-year-old play, Chalk Circle retains a remarkable amount of critical edge, and this current production does Brecht justice. - RECOMMENDED

sweet - Terry Morgan - Stage Raw - ...read full review


Avatar

It's transformational and current. Stephanie Shroyer's direction is so smooth that the ensemble seems to guide itself through the paces!

sweet - Michael Sheehan - On Stage Los Angeles - ...read full review


Paul Myrvold - Theatre Notes

Stephanie Shroyer directs The Caucasian Chalk Circle, marshaling the large cast with extraordinary verve and precision. The splendid ensemble includes John Apicella, Noel Arthur, Paul Baird, Gabriela Bonet, Turner Frankosky, Troy Guthrie, Connor Kelly-Eiding, Alex Knox, Mehrnaz Mohammadi, Madalina Nastase, Janellen Steininger, George Villas.

The creative team for The Caucasian Chalk Circle includes scenic designer Frederica Nascimento, costume designer Angela Calin, lighting designer Ken Booth, sound designer Jeff Gardner, props designer Erin Walley and dramaturg Ryan McRee. Taylor Anne Cullen manages the stage with aplomb.

Theatre lovers, this show is not to be missed. Antaeus Theatre Company continues to revive the great plays with consistent excellence.

sweet - Paul Myrvold - Theatre Notes - ...read full review


Eric A Gordon

With eventual peace in Europe and the world well within reach in 1944, Brecht and other intellectuals and leaders were starting to re-imagine the world that would emerge out of the war. In the United States, the New Bill of Rights promulgated by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt envisioned a kind of social democracy, with guaranteed social and economic rights, that unfortunately, owing to his death in April 1945, would not get off the ground under the more conservative Harry Truman.

In the East, the Soviets envisioned a buffer zone of friendly socialist states from the Baltic Sea down to the Black Sea and the Mediterranean that would protect the vast flat steppes of Russia from further invasion from the West. Those new socialist nations—Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and others—would do away with the privileged nobility and the capitalist classes that had kept those countries in conditions of poverty and backwardness for centuries. In deference to the disproportional suffering of the Soviets during the war, the West—at least for the time being—agreed to this principle, while committing to rebuilding Western Europe again on a capitalist foundation.

So the question in 1944 was much broader than the fate of one child, or even the fate of some privately owned farm land. It was, Now that we have defeated fascism—the most extreme form of capitalism—what kind of world do we want to build out of its ashes?

sweet - Eric Gordon - People's World - ...read full review


Avatar

Yes, this ensemble is a whirling flurry of activity, representing the highs and lows of the human condition and offering food for thought.  Not only that, collectively they issue a call to action for any sideline sitters among us.

sweet - Bill Reese - Table to Stage - ...read full review


Avatar

Antaeus has worked its usual magic on a difficult play using their always remarkable company as an ensemble, under the notable direction of Stephanie Shroyer, to not only underplay the polemics (peasant v. noble) but find the humanity behind the horrors of war and polluted politics, including invented music by her company to the song lyrics of Brecht...

If you are unaware of this play, do yourself the favor of seeing it as it’s now a classic piece, well-produced here. You’ll have a grand time watching it.

sweet - Dale Reynolds - Hollywood Revealed - ...read full review


Avatar

The Caucasian Chalk Circle is altogether successful and truly skillful as much as it is entertaining, certainly for the Antaeus Theatre Company whose willingness for risk on stage is growing more palpable. - Recommended

sweet - Tracey Paleo - Gia On the Move - ...read full review


Travis Michael Holder

On Frederica Nascimento’s sparse but versatile set with Antaeus’ theatre space opened to the walls for the first time on both sides of the wings, this heartfelt revival explodes with wonder as the 16 dazzlingly committed performers play all the roles, not to mention perform their own musical compositions on their own musical instruments. Alistair Beaton’s sharply contemporary adaptation is superbly staged—no, choreographed—by director Stephanie Stroyer as though we are watching a three-ring circus without elephants or aerialists.

sweet - Travis Michael Holder - Ticket Holders LA - ...read full review


Steven Stanley

While it may not make complete converts of those for whom Brecht rhymes with blech, the Antaeus Theatre Company’s season closer comes pretty darned close. It’s as exhilarating a theatrical experience as you’ll enjoy all summer long.

sweet - Steven Stanley - StageSceneLA - ...read full review


Avatar

Director Stephanie Shroyer has taken masterful hold of Alistair Beaton’s translation of the play with a diverse Ensemble that feel quite comfortable in their many changing roles while never letting us escape the emotional experience nor forget what is at stake.

sweet - Christine Deitner - The Theatre Times - ...read full review


Avatar

Faithfully adhering to Brecht’s characters and plot, the Anta eus ensemble’s abstract style precludes emotional catharsis and ensures we never forget the theatrical artifice we’re witnessing.

sweet - Philip Brandes - LA Times - ...read full review


Avatar

That non-linear forge is what makes this play rather appealing for how it stands, complete with lots of rich dialogue, interesting characters direct from the “old country”, as well as a conclusion where the Georgian village’s state never qualified for a Marshall Plan. Alistair Beaton’s English translation from the original German enhances the for noted productive dialogue that is far better that how an uneducated peasant could normally speak...

It’s not often to see a play as THE CAUCASINA CHALK CIRCLE perform in any legit theater. For those that desire something light and snappy, it’s recommended to venture off to another playhouse. For those that are bold enough to experience a play that is more fruitful in spirit, this is the production to take advantage of. It’s indeed worth its time and space!

sweet - Rich Borowy - Accessibly Live Off-Line - ...read full review


Gil Kaan

Director Stephanie Shroyer's innovative staging and updating of Bertolt Brecht's 1944 THE CAUCASIAN CHALK CIRCLE (using the translation of Alistair Beaton) features a solid ensemble using old-time, theatre magic to fascinate the audience with its tales of World War II tragedies. Liza Seneca imbues her role of Grusha with much heart, sincerity and gumption standing up to all the obstacles (human and natural) along the way to her and baby Mykal's safety.
Gabriela Bonet shines as the inner voice of Mykal with vocals of an angel, as well as, and the sensitive puppeteer of the cloth doll (standing in for Mykal). Bonet, as many others, play a number of roles each. Bonet well utilizes her comic sass and timing in the variety of her other supporting roles.

sweet - Gil Kaan - Broadway World - ...read full review


Avatar

A witty and warm play which has no problem spotlighting justice, corruption, and morality, THE CAUCASIAN CHALK CIRCLE gives the contemporary audience a chance to again appreciate Brecht at his best.

sweet - Elaine Mura - Splash Magazines - ...read full review


Avatar

This current production, adeptly directed by Stephanie Shroyer, brings Brecht’s message of social justice to life in impressive, entertaining fashion. - RECOMMENDED

sweet - Terry Morgan - Stage Raw - ...read full review


Leigh Kennicott

Executed in a mix of song and dance, narration and dumbshow that his own “Epic” effect popularized, Stephannie Shroyer utilizes every inch of Anteaus’ long stage to keep everything moving in a precise kaleidoscope of story and sound.  Anteaus’ strong ensemble ethic is well represented as veterans interchange roles with newcomers and back again.  It’s no use trying to single out any one performance – they are all strong – but each ensemble member brings his or her own distinctive style to the play. Again, Shroyer’s direction comes to the fore, as these actors represent, they do not embody characters.

sweet - Leigh Kennicott - ShowMag - ...read full review


Avatar

Sadly, Antaeus has taken a faithful approach that seems more respectful than revolutionary and more restored than radical...

Antaeus’ saving grace is their talented actors. While this show’s ensemble as a whole feels more like a junior varsity squad for the company, the saving grace of this show is Steve Hofvendahl’s performance as the judge Azdek. Mr. Hofvendahl has an acting style that’s brutally straightforward. It’s almost midwestern in its directness. It’s as if he’ll happily suffer all this theater around him but, dammit, he’s got a story to tell so can we just dispense with all this and get to it. You buy into his performance not because it’s flashy but because it’s undeniable.

sweet-sour - Anthony Byrnes - KCRW - ...read full review


Erin Conley

The cast is exceptional in this fast-moving and demanding piece, easily switching between characters and scenes, often while singing and playing instruments such as the accordion. Hofvendahl really shines in the second act as the witty Azdak takes center stage, and Seneca is affecting as Grusha, whose heart is always in the right place. At the core of the drama is the question of how we can really decide what is best for someone else, or who has a rightful claim to a person or a thing, and the answer presented is a thoughtful one that can be applied to many modern situations.

sweet - Erin Conley - On Stage & Screen - ...read full review


Avatar

It’s Karl Marx meets the Marx Brothers in Antaeus Theatre Company’s adaption of Bertolt Brecht’s 1944 play The Caucasian Chalk Circle. Brecht, who wrote The Threepenny Opera and Mother Courage, is best known for his leftwing agitprop. But many forget what Antaeus wisely remembers – while the German playwright may have been a master polemicist and propagandist (often against the master race) Brecht also had a caustic wit which reaches new heights of Marxist mirth in this production at the Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center.

sweet - Ed Rampell - Hollywood Progressive - ...read full review


Avatar

This current production, adeptly directed by Stephanie Shroyer, brings Brecht’s message of social justice to life in impressive, entertaining fashion...

Director Shroyer uses the 16-person ensemble well and stages Brecht’s chaos with stylish intelligence...

For a seventy-plus-year-old play, Chalk Circle retains a remarkable amount of critical edge, and this current production does Brecht justice. - RECOMMENDED

sweet - Terry Morgan - Stage Raw - ...read full review


Avatar

It's transformational and current. Stephanie Shroyer's direction is so smooth that the ensemble seems to guide itself through the paces!

sweet - Michael Sheehan - On Stage Los Angeles - ...read full review


Paul Myrvold - Theatre Notes

Stephanie Shroyer directs The Caucasian Chalk Circle, marshaling the large cast with extraordinary verve and precision. The splendid ensemble includes John Apicella, Noel Arthur, Paul Baird, Gabriela Bonet, Turner Frankosky, Troy Guthrie, Connor Kelly-Eiding, Alex Knox, Mehrnaz Mohammadi, Madalina Nastase, Janellen Steininger, George Villas.

The creative team for The Caucasian Chalk Circle includes scenic designer Frederica Nascimento, costume designer Angela Calin, lighting designer Ken Booth, sound designer Jeff Gardner, props designer Erin Walley and dramaturg Ryan McRee. Taylor Anne Cullen manages the stage with aplomb.

Theatre lovers, this show is not to be missed. Antaeus Theatre Company continues to revive the great plays with consistent excellence.

sweet - Paul Myrvold - Theatre Notes - ...read full review


Eric A Gordon

With eventual peace in Europe and the world well within reach in 1944, Brecht and other intellectuals and leaders were starting to re-imagine the world that would emerge out of the war. In the United States, the New Bill of Rights promulgated by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt envisioned a kind of social democracy, with guaranteed social and economic rights, that unfortunately, owing to his death in April 1945, would not get off the ground under the more conservative Harry Truman.

In the East, the Soviets envisioned a buffer zone of friendly socialist states from the Baltic Sea down to the Black Sea and the Mediterranean that would protect the vast flat steppes of Russia from further invasion from the West. Those new socialist nations—Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and others—would do away with the privileged nobility and the capitalist classes that had kept those countries in conditions of poverty and backwardness for centuries. In deference to the disproportional suffering of the Soviets during the war, the West—at least for the time being—agreed to this principle, while committing to rebuilding Western Europe again on a capitalist foundation.

So the question in 1944 was much broader than the fate of one child, or even the fate of some privately owned farm land. It was, Now that we have defeated fascism—the most extreme form of capitalism—what kind of world do we want to build out of its ashes?

sweet - Eric Gordon - People's World - ...read full review