Voodoo Chalk Circle Reviews are In!

Apr 12, 2011 by

So, way back in August of 2010, I checked #2 off my list: Adapt a Work that is Not Mine into a Play.  I’d never written an adaptation of anything before, but I took on two projects of that kind last summer, pretty much out of gratitude for being asked, and sheer blind faith that I could totally tackle a style of writing I’d never attempted before.

One of those projects, The Voodoo Chalk Circle with The State Theatre of Chicago, opened in its completed form last Friday at the Viaduct Theatre.  I’m not going to spend a lot of time bragging (you can find the bragging on my professional blog), but I wanted to just make a quick note of the success of the project here, since it all really began as one of my 101 Things To Do.

Chicago Reader — Recommended
(review here)

The afterbirth is all that remains of Bertolt Brecht in Chelsea Marcantel’s new, strikingly original adaptation of his 1948 play, The Caucasian Chalk Circle. Marcantel’s lyrical dialogue and sweeping, moody vision more than make up for the awkward plot holes that crop up as she moves Brecht’s story from Soviet Georgia to post-hurricane New Orleans, where a young housekeeper named Grusha reluctantly takes charge of her boss’s infant son. In Tim Speicher’s staging for the State Theatre of Chicago, a subtle yet stunning array of puppetry, projection, movement, and music propel the audience through a dreamscape of fear and desire, where old ways and ancient spirits emerge to replace a decimated society. –Keith Griffith

Time Out Chicago — Critic’s Pick
(full review here)

… Marcantel boils down a hugely complex script to a briskly paced and potent one-act. The State Theatre ably rises to the occasion of her scenario, tossing all but the theatrical kitchen sink into the performance space. Silhouette projections, various forms of puppetry, audience participation, an offstage choir: Speicher’s array of devices could easily have congealed into something unwatchable, but instead it’s like Mary Zimmerman on the cheap, consistently charming in its ingenuity. An exuberant young cast, headed up by Josh Hambrock’s insinuating, Tom Waits–style narrator, sells the piece relentlessly. It may not invite the critical reflection Brecht was after, but it’s a rousing show. — John Beer

1 Comment

  1. Natalie

    Congrats! This is so exciting! I wish I lived in Chicago so I could see it.

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