Puppets get political in comedy Caucasian Chalk Circle

by | Feb 7, 2014 | A&E

Shoynear Morrison
A&E Reporter

It’s whimsical, it’s witty and more in a musical comedy by Humber performance students about a country undergoing a revolution.
Directed by Maja Ardal, Caucasian Chalk Circle is the work of third-year Humber Theatre Performance and Theatre Production students. It also boasts a play within a play involving puppets.
“Caucasian Chalk Circle occurs in a fictional revolutionary country,” said third-year Theatre Performance student Aidan Tozer. “The play centres around a young girl named Grusha who is in the midst of a workers’ uprising.”
Grusha is on the lam with with the young son of a recently executed governor, said Tozer.
“While on the run she is hiding from soldiers who are trying to find and kill the child,” he said.
Caucasian Chalk Circle focuses on “the trials and tribulations of Grusha and the child,” said third-year Theatre Performance student Hilary Wirachowsky. “Grusha loves this child but is not necessarily able to care for him.”
But the longer Grusha stays with the child the closer they become, Wirachowsky said.
The play showcases the journey of Grusha and the characters that she meets along the way, Tozer said.
The play also consists of a town hall meeting within a small village in a war-torn country.

The production has an economic and political tone as an “expert tries to convince the people to sell their land to the government,” said Tozer. The town then decides to illustrate their objection through a play.
Caucasian Chalk Circle “is a play within a play performed by a village,” said second-year Theatre Production student Mary Sears.
The play is a musical and comedy that incorporates biblical allusions and Chinese folklore, said Wirachowsky.
The underlying themes of the show highlight “the struggle of poor people verses the greed of the rich and the distance between them,” said Tozer.
The play is made up of 21 actors who “never leave the stage unless there is a costume change” said Wirachowsky. They are constant spectators “on the stairs watching the action.”
There was no audition process for Caucasian Chalk Circle. The actors were hand picked among third-year Theatre Performance student by director Maja Ardal, said Tozer.
The signature props for Caucasian Chalk Circle are puppets which transform into three forms, said Sears. The puppets will be used to portray the character Michael, who is first seen as “a baby puppet swaddled in cloth,” changes into a toddler and ends as a “much more animate walking puppet.”
This play warrants a grand audience because “the piece is a strong political piece,” said Wirachowsky. “It’s important for post-secondary aged people to watch the piece” since the themes would appeal to young adults.
Everyone should come and watch the play, said Tozer.
“It’s got a little bit of everything. There’s something for everyone and at the same time the play talks about very important things,” he said.
“There’s comedy, there’s everything, this is a political play,” said Sears. adding it does not preach or make the audience feel uncomfortable.
Caucasian Chalk Circle opens Feb. 14 and runs until Feb. 22. Check the Humber events website at http://www.humber.ca/events/humber-theatre-presents-caucasian-chalk-circle for curtain times.