I'm starting to think of the Little Theatre at the Cavendish School as the 'go to' venue for serious theatre in Eastbourne. In the space of just a couple of months the venue will have hosted Bootcamp Theatre's production of Bent, Green Room Productions' The Wife, The Mistress, The Chair and, in between, the students of Cavendish School are putting on The Caucasian Chalk Circle.
Fittingly, the first performance of the play was also a student production, but in Minnesota in 1948. German playwright Bertolt Brecht had written it in 1944 while living in America. He had already written a short story entitled Der Ausberger Kreidekreis which was itself derived from an ancient Chinese play, Circle of Chalk by Li Xingdao. I saw an excellent performance at the Devonshire Park two years ago from Blackeyed Theatre which made this one of my favourite works.
Caucasian Chalk Circle is presented as a play within a play and several strands to the tale all interweave as we learn more about each character and their motivations. The main story thread is that of rich Governor and his wife Natella who are forced to flee their city in wartime. In their haste, Natella leaves her son behind. He is rescued and raised by Grusha, formerly their maid. Years later, Grusha learns that Natella is trying to reclaim her son and the two women go to court to decide who is 'really' his mother: the woman who gave birth to him or the woman who raised him.
Little Theatre, Tue 19th - Thu 21st Mar, 19:00.
Tickets £5 (£3.50 concessions), available online or by calling 01323 744298.