Composers and their stage works 

The Caucasian Chalk Circle

Bertolt Brecht


W. H. Auden and James and Tania Stern
Ralph Manheim, music by Dessau
Eric Bentley, music by Durrent
John Holstrom, music by Griffiths

Play - M38 F11 with doubling possible. Various simple settings.

Parable play based on the Chinese drama The Circle of Chalk, proclaiming that ownership should be decided by merit, not law.

In a prologue, members of two Soviet communes, goat breeders and fruit growers, meet in a war-shattered village to discuss who should have a certain valley, the ownership of which is disputed. The problem is settled in favour of the fruit growers, and to celebrate the decision a storyteller recounts, through song and dance, an old legend, which the fruit growers perform. According to the legend a cruel town governor is murdered. His wife escapes but abandons her baby, who is harboured by a kitchen-maid, Grusha. Later the governor's widow returns and a trial is ordered with the test: which woman can drag the child out of a chalk circle? In refusing to harm the child by pulling it, Grusha is ruled to be the 'true' mother. Period 1945