Concordia's Thursday Report

Vol. 29, No.7

December 2, 2004


The theatricality of Brecht


Berthold Brecht’s modern classic, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, is being presented by Concordia’s Theatre students Dec. 9 to 12.

It’s the third time Lib Spry has directed the play, and every time, it’s different, she says. These days, with politics so polarized and so rife with conflict, Brecht is “utterly relevant.”

Brecht (1989-1956) revolutionized European theatre, and his influence is still strongly felt. Google has 173,000 entries for his name.

His ultra-leftwing politics was integrated with his approach to acting, because he felt that a truly Marxist drama must avoid the Aristotelian premise of versimilitude, or being lifelike.

In a Brechtian production, the audience is not identifying with the characters so much as analyzing events onstage with critical detachment.

Spry taught a two-week intensive course last summer, building up an ensemble of students. The cast for this play is huge — 75 — which means the actors (17 students in this case) take multiple roles; indeed, the play is rarely performed outside of theatre schools.

The plot concerns a child, who is abandoned by her highborn mother and rescued by a kitchen maid. As always with Brecht, there is blood and guts, shouting and music, tears and laughter.

“It’s my favourite play,” Spry said. “The students love it and are working hard.”

For times and ticket prices, see The BackPage