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Caucasian Chalk Circle

CAUCASIAN CHALK CIRCLE

BY: BERTOLT BRECHT, FRANK McGUINNESS TRANSLATION

DIRECTED BY: COURTNEY O'CONNOR

EMERSON STAGE

COMPOSER, MUSIC DIRECTOR, SOUND DESIGNER: ELIZABETH CAHILL

ASSOCIATE MUSIC DIRECTOR: JONAH GODFREY

The sound design concept for this show drew directly from the experiences of refugees.  Many who are forced to flee from their homes miss the music they were brought up with.  Although not all are musicians, many refugees learn how to play instruments to keep the music from their homes alive.  The ensemble brought in a variety of musical talents which we pieced together to make the music that added such a vibrancy to this production.

The full cast performs "Azdak."


Jonah Godfrey performs transition music.


Listen:


Ben Bailey sings "The Bridge" as the cast use their voices to make the sound of wind and a creaking bridge.

Found Object Instruments: 

Washtub Bass

The stage littered with props, many opportunities to make sound and music out of ordinary objects.  Boxes, washboards, and lamps were used as percussion instruments.  A washtub, broomstick, and string became our bass used in multiple songs, as well as sound effects.

Elizabeth in the rehearsal studio with the newly made washtub bass.

Elizabeth in the rehearsal studio with the newly made washtub bass.


Mitchell Buckley sings "River Song".

 

MUSIC ONLY TO BE USED WITH PROPER PERMISSIONS

ALL PRODUCTION PHOTOS TAKE BY:

PERSPECTIVE PHOTOGRAPHY/CRAIG BAILEY

All music was original to this production, performed by:

PIANO & GUITAR: JONAH GODFREY

FLUTE: KELLY DOWNES

MANDOLIN & WASHTUB BASS: DANTE FLORES

VIOLIN: JULIAN ALDANA-TEJADA

PERCUSSION: BEN BAILEY & ALEX HANSCOM

VOCALS: MITCHELL BUCKLEY, RACHEL HUNSINGER, MADELINE ADDIS, JANE REAGAN, SYDNEY TORRES, LIZZIE McDOWELL, KHYATI SEHGAL


Mitchell Buckley sings "Azdak Reprise" into a Shure Super 55 Microphone.

 A LOOK INTO THE RESEARCH:

Bertolt Brecht and Hanns Eisler; drawing by Herbert Sandberg

Bertolt Brecht and Hanns Eisler; drawing by Herbert Sandberg

In the dark times
Will there also be singing? 
Yes, there will also be singing.
About the dark times.

-BERTOLT BRECHT

"With his brow furrowed in concentration, Abu Abdullah rhythmically strums his oud, exploring the core of a melancholic melody. Mohamad Isa Almaziodi's robust and melismatic voice soars above, full of emotional ornamentation - sighing and repeating, rising and falling - until he runs out of breath and the phrase is forced to finish."  This heartbreaking video was a source of inspiration for the music; not to mimic the style, but to draw from the use of song and poetry to relieve pain.


The cast performs "Hootenanny" featuring Alex Hanscom on Guitar, Kelly Downes on Washtub Bass, Mitchell Buckley on Lamp Percussion, Madeline Addis on Piano, and Jane Reagan on Accordion.

Kelly Downes plays flute in "Why Are You Happy?"

Kelly Downes plays flute in "Why Are You Happy?"

Elizabeth repairs and cleans the piano after the keys began to stick due to humidity in the theatre.

Elizabeth repairs and cleans the piano after the keys began to stick due to humidity in the theatre.

Madeline Addis and Ben Bailey sing "I Must Take You" as Madeline transfers the role of Grusha to Ben.  In this production there were three actors that played the role of Grusha.

Madeline Addis and Ben Bailey sing "I Must Take You" as Madeline transfers the role of Grusha to Ben.  In this production there were three actors that played the role of Grusha.

Julian Aldana-Tejada travels down the stairs playing violin, heard in "Terrible is the Temptation to do Good.

During the final moment of the show, Abbey May places the Ghost Light onstage, as Julian Aldana-Tejada plays the violin from the stairwell backstage.