Der kaukasische Kreidekreis

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("The Caucasian Chalk Circle" [1]) A parable play by Bertolt Brecht.

The original text

A parable about a peasant girl who rescues a baby and becomes a better mother than its wealthy natural parents, the play is a reworking of Brecht's earlier short story, Der Augsburger Kreidekreis [2]. Both the story and the play are based on the 14th-century Chinese play Circle of Chalk [3] by Li Xingdao.

The play was written in Santa Monica in 1944/45, while Brecht was living in the USA, translated into English by Eric Bentley and had its world première at Carleton College, Minnesota, in 1948. The first professional production was at the Hedgerow Theatre, Philadelphia, directed by Bentley and the German première was in 1954 at the Theater am Schiffbauerdamm, Berlin.

Translations and adaptations

Translated from the German into English under the title The Caucasian Chalk Circle by Eric Bentley in c.1948.

Translated from the German into English under the title The Caucasian Chalk Circle by James Stern and his German wife Tania Kurella in 19**.

Translated from the German into Afrikaans under the title Die Kaukasiese Krytsirkel by Johann van Heerden in 1973. (Unpublished)

Performance history in South Africa

1959: A production of The Caucasian Chalk Circle was directed by Fred Engelen as Guest Producer for the Little Theatre, with a large cast including Louw Verwey, Percy Sieff (as Azdak), Jane Major, Chris Smith, Jeanne Lipschitz, John Kelly, Hanes Schotel, Billy Trengove, Aleandra Thompson, Roy Grant, Judy Gritzman and Lilian Habib. Settings devised by Walter Tillemans in Antwerp and executed under the direction of Cecil Pym. Costumes designed by Shirley Duff Gray and executed under the direction of Helen Rooza. Lighting by Cliff Taylor. Music composed by Myron Fink, played under the direction of Erik Chisholm and recorded by Gregorio Fiasconaro.

1964?: A production ofThe Caucasian Chalk Circle was one of the first productions of the Serpent Players, directed by Athol Fugard and featuring Nomhle Nkonyeni as Aniko.

1965: A production of the Stern English translation was staged by PACT, directed by Victor Melleney and featuring Nina Alova, Olive Bodill, Philip Boucher, Helen Braithwaite, Michael Fisher, Fiona Fraser, Arthur Hall, Louis Ife, Elaine Lee, Maureen McAllister, Victor Melleney, Geoffrey Morris, Siegfried Mynhardt, Dick Reinecke, Sheelagh Ross, Joe Stewardson, Ronald Wallace and Eugene Wetton.

196*: The Caucasian Chalk Circle was produced and directed by Fred Engelen with students of the University of Stellenbosch Drama Department in the late 1960s.

1973: Die Kaukasiese Krytsirkel, the Afrikaans translation, premièred in a production by the Universiteitsteater Stellenbosch in the H.B. Thom Theatre at the Drama Department at Stellenbosch University in August 1973, directed by Johann van Heerden, with Herman Pretorius, Deon Bosman, Jannie Botes, Tessa Cowan, Amanda Hubach, Antoinette Kellermann, Elsabé Kok, Lize Treurnicht, Estelle Venter, Leon van Nierop, Johan Burger, Awie de Swardt, Jakkie Groenewald, Karen Kranz, Colleen Hauptfleisch, Rina Nienaber, Frans Palm. Chris Truter, M.C. Basson (Marthinus Basson), Lochner de Kock, Keith Dietrich, Serfie Potgieter and Albert van Tonder.

1986: The Caucasian Chalk Circle, directed by David Haynes, assisted by Damon Galgut, sets by Kevin Yates, costumes by Jeff Smith at the Little Theatre opening 3 September 1986, starring Owen Sejake as Azdak, Megan Choritz, David Tomsu, Isadora Verwey, Raymond Suttle, Warrick Grier and others.

1991: The Caucasian Chalk Circle was staged at the Grahamstown Festival by the Market Theatre Company, directed by Gerrit Schoonhoven, featuring Michele Burgers, Melinda Ferguson, Warrick Grier, Thulane Gxubane, Duncan Johnson, Michael Maxwell, Cindy Sampson, Irene Stephanou and André-Jacques van der Merwe

1992: In September 1992 Herman Pretorius directed Die Kaukasiese Krytsirkel the Van Heerden Afrikaans translation for Universiteitsteater Stellenbosch in the H.B. Thom Theatre.


de.wikipedia [4]

en.wikipedia [5]

Little Theatre programme, 1959.

PACT theatre programme, 1965.

UTS theatre programme, August 1973 (Die Kaukasiese Krytsirkel).

Market Theatre Company programme, 1991.

Ruphin Coudyzer. 2023. Annotated list of his photographs of Market Theatre productions. (Provided by Coudyzer)

UTS theatre programme, September 1992 (Die Kaukasiese Krytsirkel).

Petru & Carel Trichardt theatre programme collection.

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