Theater Review

Brecht: The Caucasian Chalk Circle

BrechtLast Friday night, beset by boredom, I decided to attend a production of Brecht’s The Caucasian Chalk Circle in which most of the characters were played by life-sized puppets. I don’t know what I expected, but I didn’t get it. What I got instead was a spectacularly odd experience: puppets singing, dancing, and spouting Marxist dogma. The cumulative effect was hallucinatory and disturbing. It was like watching an unaired episode of Sesame Street in which Elmo is brutally executed by guerilla soldiers.

Brecht’s plays balance a studied anti-realism with a cruel insight into human nature and social injustice. In The Caucasian Chalk Circle, a peasant girl named Grusha decides to care for an abandoned baby whose noble family has been targeted for execution by a revolutionary army. She’s chased through the Caucasus Read more »

SUV: The Musical!

SUVWhen the press release describes the plot of a musical as “boy-meets-girl, boy-designs-really-big-car-for-girl, girl-leaves-boy-for-environmental-activist, boy-is-sentenced-to-death-for-crimes-against-humanity,” you know you’re in for a wild ride. This farce is bursting at the seams with the giddy anarchy of the Marx Brothers, the pop culture references of the Simpsons – and the anti-big-auto fervor of Ralph Nader.

This product of a team dubbed Neo-Shtick Theater comes together under director Eric Oleson, producer Gersh Kuntzman (also responsible for the book, and with the stage role of Judge Green), songwriter and music director Marc Dinkin, and choreographer Katie Workum. This is Neo-Shtick Theater’s second appearance at the Fringe Festival, New York City’s annual summer indie arts extravaganza. Read more »

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