The Caucasian Chalk Circle


The Caucasian Chalk Circle (German: Der Kaukasische Kreidekreis) is a play by the German modernist playwright Bertolt Brecht. An example of Brecht's epic theatre, the play is a parable about a peasant girl who rescues a baby and becomes a better mother than its wealthy natural parents.

The play was written in 1944 while Brecht was living in the United States. It was translated into English by Brecht's friend and admirer Eric Bentley and its world premiere was a student production at Carleton College, Minnesota, in 1948. Its first professional production was at the Hedgerow Theatre, Philadelphia, directed by Bentley. Its German premiere was in 1954 at the Theater am Schiffbauerdamm, Berlin. The most known version of Caucasian Chalk Circle is the Georgian version of the Rustaveli State Drama Theatre by Robert Sturua; this version is also considered by many critics worldwide to be the best. The Caucasian Chalk Circle is now considered one of Brecht's most celebrated works and is one of the most regularly performed 'German' plays.

The play is a reworking of Brecht's earlier short story, Der Augsburger Kreidekreis; both derive from the 14th-century Chinese play Circle of Chalk by Li Xingdao.However, the story bears great resemblace to the Buddhist Jataka story "Mahaushadha"[1]

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