Mark Thomson takes on Brecht's Caucasian Chalk Circle at the Lyceum
- Gareth K Vile
- 11 February 2015
'I felt that the theatre needed to respond to the times we are in,' says Thomson
Mark Thomson is enthusiastic about directing Brecht's Caucasian Chalk Circle. Using the strength of the Lyceum's scale, he is taking on a major work by one of the most important authors of the 20th century, which remains trenchant today. 'I felt that the theatre needed to respond to the times we are in where there seems an unstoppable march toward widening the gap between the rich and the poor,' he says. 'Caucasian simply says there might be another way of thinking. It has the boldness of a parable in the truths it identifies but has a wonderfully complex political and human understanding that is celebrated by vivid, musical, comedic and emotional theatre.'
Brecht is famous for 'breaking the fourth wall', but this is one aspect of his overall intention to challenge audiences to consider the political meanings of his script. A firm socialist and believer in social change, his influence is huge across contemporary theatre. 'The play shifts restlessly from one style to another, from naturalism, to singing, to crazy carnivalesque creatures,' Thomson adds. 'And Brecht's great optimism is that he believed people - us - can change. And boy, oh boy: I think we all know we need to.'