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L.A. Beat

The Caucasian Chalk Circle lets cast play a variety of roles

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The University of Lethbridge is taking  their audience with them for their production of Bertolt Brecht’s “ The Caucasian Chalk Circle,” Feb. 5-13 at the University of Lethbridge.

Danielle Martens and Rae Anne Boon rehearse a Caucasian Chalk Circle. Photo by Richard Amery
“The characters are either on stage or sitting in the audience,” said first year drama student Rae Anne Boon, who along with the other 24 actors, play a cornucopia of 70 different characters in  the play, which literally takes the audience all over the drama department including the  David Spinks Theatre and the main theatre and even the  lobby during the course of the play.

The story of class and political struggle takes place at the end of the Second World War when a child is placed in a chalk circle. Two women, one the biological mother who abandoned the child, the other the child’s caregiver through years of gruelling circumstances, are instructed to pull on the child to identify which is the true mother.

With over 70 characters, the 25 actors each play about five characters. Throughout the evening they remain part of the action, either acting, on the sidelines, moving set pieces, making sound effects or becoming an audience member themselves.

Boon is enjoying being able to play a man in the play as she plays police officer Shauva.

“Playing Shauva is really fun because he’s a man and he’s also really stupid, so it is a lot of fun,” Boon said.
“I love being able to play all of these different characters,” Boon said, noting the characters in the audience will help guide the audience to the different locations for the play.

“It’s definitely a challenge, but it’s a fun challenge,” she said.
“The audience is always aware they are part of a play,” said director Gail Hanrahan.

“ The introduction takes place in 1945, but the rest of the action takes place 1,000 years before. We‘ve blurred the lines,” Hanrahan said.
“ It’s a very interesting  play. I’d like to think we’re doing it the way Brecht would do it,” she said.
 “I enjoy the storytelling aspect of The Caucasian Chalk Circle,” said Hanrahan.

“It’s different then what you usually see in the theatre. We’re very clearly putting on a play and not trying to hide any of it.”Danielle martens and Eric Low rehearsa a Caucasian Chalk Circle. Photo by Richard Amery
“There’s at least 72 characters in it not including  mobs,  beggars and part guests,” Hanrahan said, noting student AJ Baragar composed original music for the play.
Fifth year drama student Danielle Martens wanted to do one last play before she graduates. She is also excited to play a male character.
“It’s got a lot going on. It will have people asking where is this going,” she said.

“it is definitely different. I wanted to be in one last play because hopefully I graduate this year,” Martens said.
Hanrahan hopes  audience will leave the play feeling like they’ve had a theatrical experience.

“Hopefully they will have a good time,” she said.
The Caucasian Chalk Circle runs Feb. 5-13 nightly at 7:30 pm plus matinees at 1 p.m. on Feb. 6 and 13. For tickets call the Box Office, 403-329-2616 or visit

— By Richard Amery, L.A.. Beat Editor
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