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The Caucasian Chalk Circle

By Bertolt Brecht
Adapted by Stern, Stern & Auden
Directed by Anna Smith
Weekends in John Hinkel Park, July 1st-16th 2017
(including a special performance Tuesday, July 4th)

Bertolt Brecht's most heartfelt (and funny) play The Caucasian Chalk Circle, written by Brecht in California while in exile from Germany during World War II, it features music created by the cast and is set in the chaos of southern Russia and the Caucasus Mountains at the end of World War II. 

The Caucasian Chalk Circle - Press PhotoThe play takes story elements from the Chinese Play "Circle of Chalk" and the Tibetan Buddhist story "Mahaushadha", with echoes from the Hebrew Bible story "The Judgement of Solomon".   

The story centers on the peasant girl Grusha, who, while fleeing violence perpetrated in her home city of Nukha, rescues the abandoned child of a member of the ruling class.   In her adventures (narrated as a play-within-the-play by "The Singer"), she encounters numerous characters from village and city, including the "corrupt judge with a heart of gold" Adzak and her one true love, Simon.

Our production will utilize the acclaimed translation by the husband and wife team of James and Tania Stern, assisted by the noted poet W.H. Auden.  Our cast features returning Actors Ensemble members Annika Bergman, Pennell Chapin, Maureen Coyne, Paulette Herring, Joseph O'Loughlin, Jerome Solberg and Vicki Victoria, and newcomers Alejandra Leon,  Julianna Fulton, Ryan Gonzalez, Samantha Rasler, Joel Stanley, Miranda Tilley and Matthew Weinberg.

 It will be directed by Anna Smith, director of the Quinan Street Project, and veteran of a long career in East Bay Theatre.  Stage management by Arianna O'Day, costumes by Paula Aiello with assistance from Naseem Alavi, set design by Lisa Sullivan.  Performances begin SaturdayJuly 1st at 4 p.m. at John Hinkel Park in Berkeley, and continue on weekends at 4 p.m. through July 16th, with a special performance on Tuesday, July 4th at 4 p.m. 

All performances are FREE OF CHARGE.  The amphitheatre consists of wide stone steps - blankets and/or low lawn chairs are recommended.  The performance will last about 2 hours including a 15 minute intermission.  Wheelchair accessible - reservations especially for those with limited mobility - call 510-649-5999.  Questions -This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Directions and other information at our website, www.aeofberkeley.org.

Click here for Directions to John Hinkel Park Amphitheatre

  • Description:

    Joseph O' Loughlin as the monk, with L-R Paulette Herring, Ryan Gonzalez, Alejandra Leon as ensemble.  Photo by Anna Kaminska

  • Description:

    L-R Annika Bergman as the Singer, Ryan Gonzalez as Simon, and Miranda Tilley as Grusha, Photo by Anna Kaminska

  • Description:

    Vicki Victoria and Alejandra Leon as the infant Michael's doctors, Photo by Anna Kaminska

  • Description:

    Matthew Weinberg as the Adjutant and Alejandra Leon as the Architect, Photo by Anna Kaminska.

Upcoming Events

The Knight of the Burning Pestle, adapted from Beaumont by Vicki Siegel, and directed by Lelan Fernando,  Aug. 19th-Sep. 4th John Hinkel Park Amphitheatre, Saturdays and Sundays at 4 p.m., special performance Monday September 4th at 4 p.m. 

Actors Ensemble of Berkeley has been producing high-quality theatre with a community flavor since 1957


Thank You

Actors Ensemble of Berkeley is delighted to acknowledge the Berkeley Civic Arts Program and Civic Arts Commission's support in the form of a grant of $8,000.00 awarded in 2017. Also, a thank you to Theatre Bay Area for a grant of $2,500.00.

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Actors Ensemble of Berkeley - P.O. Box 663 - Berkeley - California - 94701 ¦ Our Answering Service: (510) 649-5999 ¦

We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Federal Tax ID #946139640, since 04-1967