Young Actors Tear Apart Brecht’s 'Caucasian Chalk Circle'
Young Actors Tear Apart Brecht’s Caucasian Chalk Circle
Wellington Young actors is a company of 13-18 years olds who train in theatre at Island Bay Community Centre. The teenagers have previously performed Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night at BATS Theatre and their original works; To Sunder for which they were named 2015 New Zealand Fringe Festival's Best Newcomer and were nominated for Outstanding Ensemble, Squawk at Whitireia Theatre in the 2016 Fringe Festival, and The Wirecutters in the 2017 Fringe Festival at BATS Theatre. The group has received positive feedback and reviews from audiences and the professional theatre community.
Brecht’s The Caucasian Chalk Circle was first performed in 1948. It tackles political and social issues which are still scarily relevant in today’s society. The young actors have been using theatrical techniques like Laban and The Rotenburg System to further establish their given characters and correctly convey them in the genre of Brecht’s Epic Theatre. Through clever chorus work and individual character performance, Wellington Young Actors give a glimpse into a world of impossible choices, social and political injustices, uprisings and war. The political games, propaganda and looming threat of war of the 1940s felt so familiar to the teenagers that they decided to set the play in today’s times.
Wellington Young Actors have been working on The Caucasian Chalk Circle since March this year. Not only are they acting in their production but they also manage all production roles such as designing the set, costumes and poster and handling the marketing and fundraising and production management. This provides them with the skills and knowledge to run a theatre company, or to put on one of their own shows in the future.
The youth company have been trained by local actor/director, Deborah Rea. Rea is a regular on the Wellington professional stage and has appeared on screen; including Shortland Street and indie feature film Jake.
“New Zealand’s industry is small. Being able to create and produce your own work is an absolute must-have skill to ensure any kiwi actor’s survival. The work barely ever comes to you so you must bring the work yourself. At 13-18 years old, these actors have a secure future, not only in being able to stage their own work but also in being able to find employment in design, fundraising, marketing and production. Hopefully one day they’ll also hire me.” - Deborah Rea