A play by Bertholt Brecht
Translated by James and Tania Stern
Edward Wilson, Director
The National Youth Theatre

Jeanetta Cochrane Theatre

First performance of this production:
August 19, 1985

Peasants from Galinsk: Saverio Carubia,
Joe Quartson, Daisy Moore
Peasants from Rosa Luxemburg: Angus Norwood, Julie Gamble
Girl Tractor Driver: Jane Cook
The Expert: Tim Reynolds
The Soldier: Elliott Cooper
The Agriculturist: Trisha Ng
The Singer, Arkadi Tsheidse: Patrick McClure
George Abashvili, Governor of Nukha: Peter Turley
Natella, his wife: Lucy Briers
Shalva, The Adjuant: Ben Legg
Prince Arsen Kazbeki: Anthony Venditti
1st Doctor: Stephen Shaw
2ndDoctor: Andrew Orr
Simon Chachava: Jonathon Stone-Fewings
Grusha Vachnadze: Judy Browne
Architects: Oliver Senton, Tom Hollander,
Daniel Maier
The Nurse: Brigid Nelson
The Cook: Daisy Moore
The Stableman: Angus Norwood
Palace Servants: Samantha Hill, Femi Oke,
Tania Hamilton, Jane Cook, Julie Gamble
The Dairy Man: Richard Burrell
1st Lady at the Inn: Candace Strickland
2nd Lady at the Inn: Madeleine Farrell
Inn Keeper: Jeremy Mawdsley
Servant: Joe Quartson
Corporal: Colin Mantle
Farmer's Wife: Sclina Stokes
Farmer: Tim Reynolds
Merchants: Tania Hamilton, Bill Gallop, Mark Rozier
Lavrenti, Grusha's Brother: Douglas Gilmore
Aniko, his wife: Lisa Partridge
The Mother-in-Law: Julie Gamble
Yussup: Angus Norwood
Brother Anastasius, A Monk: Elliott Cooper
Wedding Guests: Brigid Nelson, Sclina Stokes, Samantha Hill,Richard Burrell, Daniel Maier,
Joe Quartson, Tim Reynolds, Azdak: Jonathon Cake
The Grand Duke: Saverio Carubia
Shauva, a policeman: Jim Doran
Bizergan Kazbeki: Tristan Sturrock
1st Ironshirt: Rob Shaw
2nd Ironshirt: Peter Brack
3rd Ironshirt: John Picton
Doctor: Richard Burrell
Blackmailer: Joe Gould
Invalid: Gavin Huscroft
Limping Man: Oliver Senton
Ludovica: Ann Williams
Old Peasant Woman: Victoria Stacey
Iraklie, a bandit: Saverio Caribia
Farmers: Joe Quartson, Angus Norwood,
Stephen Shaw
1st Lawyer: Tom Hollander
2nd Lawyer: Karl Tessler
Old Married Couple: Richard Burrell, Sclina Stokes
Messenger: Bill Gallop
Ironshirts: Mark Twiname, Phil Nelson

The Caucasian Chalk Circle


The Caucasian Chalk Circle
By Michael Coveney
Financial Times (London,England)
August 21, 1985

The National Youth Theatre's Texaco - sponsored summer season continues at the Jeannetta Cochrane with an ambitious but muddled production of
Brecht's rambling instructional epic. In the prelude, two rival collectives of Georgian farmers are in dispute over a valley. The play proper shows how the heroic kitchen maid, Grusha, saves a governor's
child after the city has been ransacked and burned; thanks to the sage but eccentric adjudication of Azdak, a local drunk elevated to the position of judge by the rebelling soldiers, she repels the maternity
claim of the governor's wife. The child belongs to its true practical mother just as the valley should belong to those who cultivate it.

Any Chalk Circle must first make something lucid and comprehensible of the prelude among the farmworkers. Secondly, it must make clear that the
second-half appointment of Azdak occurs during a flash-back to he initial upheaval when Grusha rescues the child. While Edward Wilson, the director, makes certain of the individual scenes vivid, the evening
suffers from an overall slackness and rather too much of the studied "acting" we should not expect from the NYT.

Azdak, for instance, is delivered by the confident Jonathan Cake as a monotonously extravagant comic turn, a strange mix of Leonard Rossiter and Alfred Molina. The slyness of Azdak, almost his most predominant characteristic, is totally swallowed in Cake's mouthings and posturings, most of which look as though they have been worked out in front of a
mirror. Important information about Azdak's ironic rise is lost in the arid showiness of the performance. Azdak, no question, is a star role. But Cake's mistake is to act on that assumption.

On the credit side, the blank charm of Judy Browne's Grusha, her touching sincerity and the affecting loyalty of Jonathan Stone-Fewings's Simon, the man she sees across a river and finds across the war, are imbued with the correct Brechtian quality. Grusha's flight from the Ironshirts, especially the negotiation of the precipice, has been more excitingly handled and the grim materialism of her brother's wife more stridently pointed.

The score is the one composed by Colin Sell for the Derby Playhouse last season. It has a slight Georgian aroma, especially in the processional and ransacking scenes; elsewhere it is not exactly reminiscent of Dessau but, shall we say, a little too intimidated by him. There is, however, some good writing for the two pianos (Alex Allen and William Oxborrow) and, often in interesting counterpoint to the vocal line, for the flute (Victoria Stacey). The singer is very well sung by Patrick McClure, but the production fails to make of him more than a po-faced link man.


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