“The Caucasian Chalk Circle”: An outstanding WTAMU performance


The Prairie News

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On Nov. 12 and 13, The West Texas A&M University Theatre Department presented a livestream production of “The Caucasion Chalk Circle”, a play written by Bertolt Brecht and first produced in 1948.

The play is set after World War II and is about a dispute over custody of an abandoned child. A governor and his wife flee the city, leaving behind their infant boy. A young servant girl saves the child and travels far and wide to find anyone who will take the baby. She is faced with the decision of keeping it, or leaving it with Mother Nature. She keeps the infant as her own and marries. The infant boy’s true mother sends notice for the search of her lost son, but the servant girl refuses to give him up. The two women go to court for him. The judge decides that whoever can pull the babe from a circle drawn of white chalk, will be declared the winner and can keep the baby as their own. The servant girl forfeits the battle, fearing of harm that it would cause the baby. Because of her great sympathy for the child, she is rewarded with him and becomes his mother forever more.

Despite all of the changes made this year by the viewing of productions, all actors and actresses were fantastic in portraying their characters, maintaining focus on which cameras were being used and which angles the audience were viewing the story from. The cameras did add to the story in a positive way, they gave the audience different viewing points throughout the play that the audience wouldn’t originally have.

“Performing in front of an audience would have changed the show a lot,” said junior acting major, Arden Hinshaw. “The staging and blocking of the show would’ve changed drastically since we wouldn’t be performing to cameras. Though the cameras presented their own challenges, they also ended up adding a lot to the show as well.”

It is understandable that these student actors would come across some trouble preparing for the production. COVID-19 did not only take a toll on the way the audience viewed the production, but also the way the actors, actresses and crew rehearsed and prepared for showtime. Senior theatre performance major Macy Fulton explained the major issues that were dealt with during rehearsal.

“With as many people as it takes to put on any type of production, the health of everybody was always the biggest priority. There were a few times where actors had to go into quarantine and they’re understudies had to step in. Changing between actors from a day-to-day basis was always difficult because you never knew who you might work with and you were always changing and adapting,” Fulton said.
While there have been difficulties such as these and many more, the WTAMU Theatre Department has overcome them and continues to flourish. It is a light in the darkness to see the student actors and actresses working hard in order to bring joy to the community. These productions such as The Caucasion Chalk Circle, even without live performances, are a treasure during this time.

“Just because the world around us is crazy and we can’t have a live audience doesn’t mean that we can’t create something beautiful on stage and still show people what we’ve created,” Fulton said.