The Caucasian Chalk Circle

Introduction

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, Northfield, Minnesota, in 1948. Its first professional production was at the Hedgerow Theatre, Philadelphia, directed by Bentley. Its German premiere by the Berliner Ensemble was on October 7, 1954, at the Theater am Schiffbauerdamm in Berlin.[1] The best-known version of The 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 one of Brecht's most celebrated works and one of the most regularly performed 'German' plays. It reworks Brecht's earlier short story "Der Augsburger Kreidekreis." Both derive from the 14th-century Chinese play The Chalk Circle by Li Xingdao.


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