A
 
Web www.artsmart.co.za
A R T S M A R T
arts news from kwazulu-natal

drama
www.artsmart.co.za
enquiries@artsmart.co.za
 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
 

NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

THE CHALK CIRCLE (article first published : 2005-03-13)

Running at the Courtyard Theatre, The Chalk Circle is a more simplified version of Brecht’s well-known play The Caucasian Chalk Circle. Using second and third year students of the Drama Studies Department at the Durban Institute of Technology, it places the action in the here-and-now as a rehearsal situation (which could be expanded to greater effect) as opposed to its original setting of a collective farm in Georgia in 1945.

A committed Marxist, Bertolt Brecht wrote The Caucasian Chalk Circle when he was in exile in the United States, having fled the Hitler regime of Nazi Germany. He based it on an ancient Chinese story which bears reference to the Judgment of Solomon where the wise king exposes a child to harm in order to determine the true mother - in this case, a chalk circle, from which each protagonist must pull the child. Brecht is normally associated with doom and gloom but this tale has a positive ending as Grusha is granted custody of the child for whom she has sacrificed so much.

Robin Singh’s intelligent and consistent direction of the DIT production makes for an interesting evening of theatre. He has drawn good performances from his cast and, for once (oh, so thankfully!) I have very few complaints about articulation and projection. The play moves swiftly and easily from scene to scene and Robin has extracted much of the humour inherent in the piece, particularly in the scene where a couple is asked why they are getting a divorce. The wife simply answers: “We don’t like each other!”

Notable performances came from Thembisa Jawula who brought a sincere and memorable clarity to the role of Grusha (keep an eye on her, is my prediction!) and from the highly articulate S’Dumo Mtshali, who impressed last year in Oedipus Rex, as the unconventional and roguish Azdak.

Proving a flair for comedy were Shaun Pearson, Sussi Mjwara, Ace Mbolekwa and Carla Grove. Bhekani Biyela notched up another plus for his fast-growing capacity for versatility and Victor Ndawo as Simon is another performer to watch.

The choral verse is derived from a University of Durban-Westville production directed by Di James in 1975 in which the singing group composed the music. Accompanied in this production by musicians Sherle Barnett and Ace Mboleka, the singers weren’t always on cue but this is something that will improve within a couple of performances.

The Chalk Circle runs at The Courtyard Theatre, DIT, Mansfield Road, until March 19 (excluding Sunday). Performances at 19h00.

Tickets R30 (R20 students with cards). Book at Computicket or phone 031 204-2532 or at the door. – Caroline Smart




 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
a co-production by caroline smart services and .durbanet. site credits
copyright © subsists in this page. all rights reserved. [ edit ] copyright details  artsmart