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Title, Premiere and Location


The Central Ave. Chalk Circle

Watts Labor Community Action Committee

November 2 through 19, 1995




The culminating project of a 15-month residency, bringing together participants from the previous 3 Watts productions and 2 workshops in Lynn Manning's adaptation of Brecht's The Caucasian Chalk Circle. Performed at the Watts Labor Community Action Committee Center. Winner of the 1996 Ovation Award for Best Play of the Year.


Written By

Bertolt Brecht, Adapted by Eric Bentley & Lynn Manning with translations by Bernando Solana

Music by Shishir Kurup, Lyrics by Lynn Manning

"Child's Song" Lyrics by Shishir Kurup

Produced at the Watts Labor Community Action Committee.





Brecht's classic play is brought to South Central in this tale of civil war in California, and the struggle over a billionaire mayor's child.

The story of a young janitor who saved an abandoned baby during California’s secession from the United States then faced a comic judge’s unusual brand of justice. The production received LA’s highest theatrical honor, the Ovation Award for Best Production of the Year.




Director - Bill Rauch

Asst. Director/Prologue Director - Dennistine Lyle

Lighting Design/Production Manager - Geoff Korf

Set Design - Ed Haynes

Costume and Properties Design - Lynn Jeffries

Composer - Shishir Kurup

Choreographer - Page Leong

Sound Design - Joe Romano

Stage Manager - Andie Massel

Assistant Stage Manager - Janet Escobar

Music Director - Shishir Kurup

Assistant Music Director - Vernon Stanford

Assistant to the Production Manager - JaRome Johns

Assistant Sound Designer/Sound Operator - Andrew Escobar

Kid Wrangler/Wardrobe Assistant - Shelley Thomas

Producer - Janice Mabry

Executive Producer - Leslie Tamaribuchi

Production Assistant/Sound Crew - Carl Flanagan

Set Construction - Caesar Bijou

Light Board Operator - Stephanie Escobar

Follow Spot Operator - Joey Colson, Laura Escobar

Running Crew - Da'vet Williams, Lera Ashe, JaRome Johns

Deck Electrician - JaRome Johns

Turntable Operator - Joaquin Martin

Electrics, Scenery & Painting - Bill Korf, Nathan Haas, Kezia, Linda Jauron, Janine Silver

TCG/NEA Directing Fellow - Amy Mueller

Graphic Design - Oscar Duardo


Paper Artists - Nadia Reed, Kathy Lucero, Migiwa, Katherine Ferwerda, Dori Quan, Dan Knapp, Lera Ashe, Andrew Castillion, Lindsay Ducos, Stephanie Escobar, Ann Hayes, Katherine Lucero, Aaron Meeks, Erica Meeks, Marcie Ramirez, Britney Scott, Andrea Thomas, Angela Thomas, Janelle Walton, Anthony Ward, Da'vet Williams






Agenette L. Gooch Chairperson
Ismael Kanater Mr. Johnston
Aaron Carlos Mr. Johnston
Melvin Long Mr. Johnston's Lawyer
Gloria Curtis Woman 1
Sandy Massel Woman 1
Glen Cornwell Man 1
Bernard S. Garrett III Man 1
Dennistine Lyle Woman 2, Cook
Theodora Hardie Committee Member 1, Nanny 2, Precious-Gerald's Wife, Landlady, Court Officer 2
Alejandro Andrade Committee Member 2, Eduardo Montoya billionare developer and mayor, Mr. Morales, Neighbor 2, Blackmailer, Older Husband
Danny Franco Teen
JaRome Johns Teen
Britney Scott Child 1
Janelle Walton Child 2
Shishir Kurup Azdak - an artist
Christopher Liam Moore Reporter, Agent Buttkiss, Father Mackenzie, Doctor, Lawyer 1
Anthony Ward Cameraman, Limping teen, Busboy
Vernon Stanford Protester 1, Hitman 1, Car Jacker
Rocio Novoa Protester 1, Alma the maid, Miss Morales, Ophelia - a waitress
Page Leong Antoinette, Passenger 1, Neighbor 1, Agent 2
Armando Molina Buck Wild, Agent Superior, Palacio's Mother, The Q-Tip
Oscar Durado Nanny1, Store Proprietor, Palacio, Agent 3, Messenger
Sandra Layne Gertha Gibson
Quentin Drew Derek, Lawyer
Lynn Manning Senator Charles
Irma Ashe Christina, Passenger 4, Woman with Shawl, Older Wife
Aaron Meeks Looter, Kid 1, K-1 (Azdak's Ward)
Matthew Castrillon Monte
Erica Meeks Bossy Kid
Marcella "Marcie" Ramirez

Kid 2, K-2 (Azdak's Ward)

The Ensemble Chorus, Protesters, Tourists, Busriders, Police Officers, Partygoers





Comments by cast, crew, and other participants.


"This wasn't the first Cornerstone play I ever saw (Ghuruba was my first), but in many ways this CHALK CIRCLE was a seminal Cornerstone experience. It was a Bridge Show, and it was particularly exciting because it looked at issues with a community that included Latino and African American participants. There are plenty of places in the city where the relationships between those two groups were complicated (at best) and violent (at worst)."


"It was a notable production because it did so many of the things I associate with Cornerstone: it was a great adaptation of Brecht by Lynn Manning, and a very broad and exciting production by Bill Rauch. It was one of those productions where you could really feel the personality and the energy he had been able to focus. The design elements (I will never forget Lynn Jeffries' construction paper masterpieces) were thrilling: at one point a couple of cars come racing into the performance space, and the whole audience just ROSE out of their seats. "Bravura" is really the only word for the design."


"And then there were the performances: Page Leong and Shishir Kurup both had marvelous star turns, Chris Moore and Armando Molina were stealing every scene they were in through a series of character roles, and the community performers (esp. Sandra Layne and Quentin Drew) were wonderful."


"Every once in a while you get the perfect combination: CHALK CIRCLE was the perfect combination."


"If I had to list the specifically 'Cornerstone' characteristics, I'd say...


1. Energetic and site/community-specific adaptation.

2. Staging style that is at once pageantry and very direct, personal drama.

3. Bold and bright design with found or inexpensive objects.

4. Affecting performances by community participants.


-- John Flynn




Subsequent Performances or Productions

Special Notes


The Central Ave. Chalk Circle won the Ovation Award for Best Production.


Articles, Reviews, and other Links



American Theater Article:



LA Times Article:



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