Two weeks ago I went with a friend who was here for the week to see Classic Stage Company’s recently-closed production of The Caucasian Chalk Circle. I’m not very familiar with Brecht, probably I’m not really a fan of his. I did exactly no research before sitting in my seat (which is a problem with me nowadays) but I saw that Elizabeth A. Davis was in it and I wanted to see if she could really perform (other than her super tiny role that earned her a TONY nomination in Once) and who doesn’t love music by Duncan Sheik? Also: Lea DeLaria.
The premise was interesting, as it was about a worn-town USSR and what one woman goes through to save a baby (who’s a prince) that she saved from the palace during an invasion. It’s very much a play with music moreso than a musical.
Christopher Lloyd (of Back to the Future fame) is the narrator in the first act and a foolish, alcoholic judge in the second act. He was fantastic onstage (I’m not familiar with his screen work, so I can’t judge the two sadly!). Davis was also very impressive. She can sing AND act. If this were on Broadway, it would be a performance worthy of a TONY nomination.
The two acts fit together in no way until the very end of the second act. It’s confusing, to say the least. But that’s probably why I’m not a fan of Brecht. He tends to make no sense, in my opinion.
Despite that I very much enjoyed the production. It’s a play that’s definitely worth a read, even if you can’t see it.