Caucasian Chalk Circle Oct. 6-11, 2009

The Butler University Theatre department presents Bertolt Brecht’s classic Caucasian Chalk Circle, Wednesday, October 7 through Sunday, October 11. Tickets are $10.00 for adults and $5.00 for Indianapolis kids with a student ID. The curtain rises at 8:00 pm October 7 thorough 10 and 2:00 pm on October 10 and 11. This production is presented as part of the Jordan College of Fine Arts Mahler Project.

Brecht wrote Caucasian Chalk Circle between 1944 and 1945 while he was in exile in the United States. He adapted the tale from a Yuan Dynasty work called The Chalk Circle by Li Hsing-tao. The ancient tale tells of two judges: a corrupt villian who knows nothing of the law and a “righteous and incorrupt” Pao Cheng.

Two mothers have come to trial over claims of a child. The first judge rules in favor a murderous and grasping woman; he sentences the other to death. However, the wise Judge Pao devises the chalk circle to discover the truth. The child is reunited with his real mother and the wicked woman is punished. In the Yuan period, plays such as this reflected the Chinese desire for social justice.

In Brecht’s version, there is only one judge who is both corrupt and wise. And instead of two woman making claims on a child, one young mother raises an abandoned infant. The single remaining similar factor is the use of a chalk circle to determine the legitimacy of the real mother’s claim.

“It’s really a wonderful story about how we come to the truth,” said Owen Schaub, interim chair of Butler Theatre, who is directing this production. “In this case, the question is: Who is the true mother? But it also helps us look at the idea of truth and the idea that the law and justice are not always the same thing. In this case, the law says one thing and justice says another. And we come down on the side of justice as members of the audience.”

Butler University produces yet another classic play, maintaining high standards of excellence in Indianapolis education and contributing to Indianapolis theatre and performing arts. For more information, about other shows in Butler Theatre’s season or to purchase tickets for Caucasian Chalk Circle, visit the Butler University Theatre website.

Make an evening of it by getting dinner or drinks in the nearby Indianapolis cultural district, Broad Ripple Village. With a plethora of Indianapolis restaurants and Indianapolis bars, there literally is something for everyone. This Indianapolis art event is not to be missed!

Caucasian Chalk Circle
October 2009

Butler University Theater
1600 Sunset Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46208