The Village Voice

Molière's Archbishop Supreme Tartuffe Shifted to Harlem, Brecht's Chalk Circle Updated to Now

By Alexis Soloski

July 2, 2009


By contrast, PL115 offers a more loyal and unpretentious version of its original–in this case, Brecht's 1945 Caucasian Chalk Circle, written during the writer's American exile. Though a dramaturgical note draws attention to the play's depiction of "economic opportunism and financial greed," this production, staged at the Chocolate Factory, seems uncertain of how it relates to the present and why it's costumed and set here. Alice Reagan's direction gestures toward the alienation affect, but also includes some Anne Bogart–ish choreography, a few nods to the Wooster Group, and even a bit of realism. This ought to make for a mess, but instead results in a quite likable, if occasionally clumsy, production, aided by its energetic cast. I'm not sure what Reagan means to say about Brecht's work, and I can't sense what drew her toward it, but she's offered a brisk, compassionate version of a difficult script. If the play warns of the "terrible temptation to do good," it seems as if PL115 has given in.

Original Article: The Village Voice