New theater company comes to Coventry
Members of the new Shahrazad Theatre Company believe that now is the time to refocus attention on the revolutionary playwrights who, throughout history, have thrust audiences into the realm of enriching the human spirit with their provocative stories and the expansion of language.
With this as its goal, Shahrazad Theatre Company will present as its inaugural production Bertolt Brecht’s "The Caucasian Chalk Circle" (rendered into English by Shahrazad Theatre Company).
Brecht helped pioneer one of the most significant shifts in 20th-century art, literature and theater. In "The Caucasian Chalk Circle," which he wrote in 1944 while living in the United States, he gives these lines to his narrator: “We hope you find the voice of this poet, while old, still rings true . . . It may be a mistake to mix different wines, but old and new wisdom mix admirably.”
The play begins in a war-torn valley in the Caucasus Mountains shortly after the enemy has left. Two groups of survivors lay claim to this valley. One group lived in the valley prior to the war; the other group, with its new irrigation system, can make the valley fertile again. Brecht uses the device of a “play within a play”—an old Chinese folk tale—to cast light on the dispute between the two groups.
The production features local actors James Rankin, Robert Hawkes, Stephen Vase-Hansell, Valerie Young, Allen Branstein, Tim Young, April Needham, Andrew Keller, Kaitlyn Rotuno, Brittany Ganser, August Scarpelli and Kayla Davis, under the direction of Kyle Huff.
Shahrazad Theatre Company was founded by Kayla Davis, Kyle Huff, and August Scarpelli—graduates of Hiram College and artistic associates at Ensemble Theatre. Beneath the umbrella of Ensemble Theatre and its commitment to “the responsible production of works that celebrate the human spirit drawn from the rich canon of modern American classics, as well as other significant contemporary plays,” Shahrazad takes up the torch.
"The Caucasian Chalk Circle" will run from Oct. 27 through Nov. 12. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. in the PlayGround Theatre at Ensemble, in the Coventry School building.
August Scarpelli is co-founder of Shahrazad Theatre Company. A resident of Cleveland Heights since graduating from Hiram College in May 2016, he has worked at Cain Park since 2013 and Ensemble Theatre since 2015.