After an acclaimed season at Brockley Jack last January, Lazarus Theatre’s inventive ensemble production of Brecht’s politically charged modern classic The Caucasian Chalk Circle returns for eight performances only at Greenwich Theatre – with, I’m delighted to say, a re-run of our post-show panel debate on politics in theatre. Even more to talk about now!
A girl must make a choice… to take the child and run, or leave him behind in the fury of civil war.
Bertolt Brecht’s thrilling and revolutionary 1943 play follows a young girl who makes the biggest decision of her life. Set against the back drop of war and mutiny, Grusha seeks refuge and asylum. Her crime: saving the son of the fleeing establishment. Her reward: The Chalk Circle.
Lazarus’ production draws on Brecht’s pioneering techniques and thrilling text, in a translation by Frank McGuinness and set to an original score. Lazarus is an award-winning theatre company, re-imagining and revitalising classic text for a contemporary audience.
For the run last year, Brecht, arguably the father of modern political theatre, inspired our post-show panel discussion on the role of politics in theatre. We asked then:
Can theatre be a catalyst for real change? How has political theatre evolved?
But that discussion took place when David Cameron was still Prime Minister, before the EU Referendum, before Donald Trump was elected US president, before the Labour Party imploded in full… All of which theatre-makers are beginning to respond to forcefully.
Is political theatre more urgent than ever? Can it be a meaningful part of ‘resistance’? After the performance of The Caucasian Chalk Circle on Thursday 30 March 2017 (the day after Article 50 is triggered), I’ll chair a panel comprising Lazarus artistic director Ricky Dukes, prolific theatremaker Stephen Unwin (formerly artistic director of the Rose Theatre, Kingston and English Touring Theatre) and other guests. The Q&A is free to all ticket-holders.