Brecht on a Monday

On Monday night, my friend Tanya and I went to see Classic Stage Company’s current production of “Mother Courage and Her Children.” I’d heard of Mother Courage but this production included music by Duncan Sheik and Tonya Pinkins so I said why not. 

MC is about people in any place on earth (really) during war times profiting off those war times. Mother Courage (Pinkins) does what she has to in order to maintain her family, only losing one of her three children to the war, and along the way her bartering business keeps developing.

I’m not a huge fan of Brecht and this was typical Brecht. In addition to her prop cart onstage, Pinkins carried the entire show on her back and wonderfully. The other standouts I thought were Michael Potts (RIP, Lennon) and Mirirai Sithole (as Pinkin’s daughter). 

CSC has done a fine job staging Mother Courage and just because it isn’t my cup of tea, that doesn’t mean it won’t be yours. I though that Pinkins has dropped out of the show and being advised by her lawyers not to disclose why. 

Always some drama whether you’re on or off-Broadway. 

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.