Title: The Aesthetic Power of Theatre
Aesthetics is the philosophical investigation into the nature of beauty and the perception of beauty in any artistic work. If individuals watch the performance of The Caucasian Chalk Circle by Berthold Brecht on stage, they will agree with this. The performance starts with two communes, the Collective Fruit Farm and the Collective Fruit Farm who are engaged in a dispute over a piece of land. The actors here are dressed in old clothes; the old men have walking sticks. This brings out the setting, which is a village in the prologue, when the play is read. In addition, the choices of costumes for these actors mark their social class. The performance brings out the actors, who represent the two communes, as a desperate group. The tone of characters enables individuals deduce their bitterness, especially, from the Collective Goat Farm, who through their moving narration reveal how their goat product has been affected.
Conversely, a powerful presentation from one actor who paints a clear picture on how the Collective Fruit Farm is given. The Galnisk, suffers as they try to defend this disputed piece of land. In his hand are the improvised rifles that they used to defend the disputed land. This depicts the magnitude of the danger and suffering they underwent. As the prologue ends, soft music is heard, which brings out the reconciliatory mood. Suddenly, a singer from the backstage, dressed in a long robe like a priest, comes on stage and starts narrating, as the audience cheers him for his oratory skills. The improvisation here is appropriate as it makes the performance moving and memorable. It also highlights the suffering of the masses.
The theme of social classes is clearly brought out. The actors who represent the governor’s family are expensively dressed. Their security is tight, armed men guard them. A baby toy rubbed in linen represents the governor’s baby. This shows this is a royal family. At the back stage, ringing bells signal portray proximity to the church. What surprises most is the way the governor ignores desperate masses as he is headed to the Easter Mass. They are wiped, and the modulation of the bridge music brings out the force these iron shirts use to scare the masses as they wrestle for the few coins which the governor throws. Surely, this is arguably high levels of insensitivity to humanity.
The theme of courage and human sacrifice is brought out. A humbly dressed girl rescues the baby. The turbulent music, which is heard from the back stage, signals a tensed mood. The actors run on stage, as the governor’s wife is busy ordering the workers to bring her expensive golden and silver dresses. The question that arises is whether this is the right moment for her to concentrate on clothes. This presentation brings out the materialistic nature of humanity. In addition, it captures the idea that in society the less fortune in the society are more human.
In scene two and three, themes of determination and courage dominate. The dressing of the soldiers who are seeking the innocent child is scaring. First, they are very big and armed yet what they are looking for is an armless, thin boy who cannot offer any resistance if they get him. The choice of these actors and their dressing appropriately fits the author’s description of the soldiers in the play. The actor, dressed like a woman, sits down and tries to breast-feed this toy baby, which effectively captures the author’s intention of desperation of the maid as she tries to rescue the child. However, the stage is limited, in terms of space and lighting, and the events are concealed to most of the audience. The fading and flashing lights signal how the days lapsed.
The arrival of the desperate Gresham in her brother’s house triggers evaluation from a new perspective. The brother organizes a marriage for her sister, with a dying man. The question arises whether this is the best way to treat a helpless sister regardless of the ‘crimes’ she has committed. The choice of characters here is most appropriate as it brings out the themes of hypocrisy and cowardice. Through the singer’s song, the audiences get to know what ails him, he fears war. This is clearly in line with the play, though the actors do not explicitly give the details. This scene is moving and memorable as it is coined with sadness and humor, which breaks the tension and provokes laughter.
The last two scenes are dramatic and moving. An actor dressed in black pants shelters a middle-aged man expensively dressed. The two represent Azdak and the Grand Duke respectively. Later, the man in black pants is appointed a judge after they are engaged in a minor play, which determines who becomes the judge. This scene brings out the playwrights ability to manipulate language by the same character playing different roles. This, in my opinion, is effective as it simplifies the plot.
The performance of Bertolt’s play on stage enables us to understand his message clearly. It utilizes the various components on the stage such as language, lighting, sounds, music, clothing, setting, themes and stylistic features of a play to capture the situation of the society. In addition, it enables the viewers to conceptualize abstract concepts in the in the play and relate them with their own experiences. Lastly, it gives the viewers the opportunity to give a critique of the use of language and the general organization of the play to pass a message.
Brecht, Bertold. The Caucasian Chalk Circle. Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press, 1-89, 1999.