BERTOLT BRECHT – "THE CAUCASIAN CHALK CIRCLE"
Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956) a non-conformist German playwright, was the most important single influence in the development of epic theatre. His political beliefs and experiences were his motivation to try to change the world through drama. Through the theatre he created he made people realise the wrong doings of the society in which they lived. Brecht was a pacifist and, therefore, wrote a number of plays with strong political messages to intellectually stimulate and politically motivate his audiences. Brecht's plays were originally rejected by the society in which he lived because they were unconventional and against the ideological beliefs that his society embraced.
In his work, Brecht explored themes related to war, ownership, sacrifice, the notion of justice and the theme of the inequalities produced by'superior' people in power over the'inferior' lower class. He challenged society's opinion of the oppressed. Brecht tried to teach his audiences not to accept the world as they found it. He also tried to teach his actors the same thing.
"… above all s/he [actor of Brechtian theatre] must be aware of the theme with which the play is concerned."
Brecht's "The Caucasian Chalk Circle" is set in the time of a civil war. It contains two parallel stories. One centers around AZDAK, a drunken peasant, who is put into the powerful role of judge. The other deals with a peasant named Grusha who saves an abandoned child and claims it as her own. The two stories unite to conclude the play. AZDAK must decide whether the child should be under the custody of his natural mother – a wealthy, upper-class woman who abandoned him, or Grusha, who saved him from certain death.
The attached extract from "The Caucasian Chalk Circle" clearly demonstrates and exemplifies the Brechtian style, showing evidence of al…