02-23-12 – New York City, NY>Philadelphia, PA – The Yangtze Repertory Theatre of America presents a multilingual adaptation of “The Chalk Circle,” a 13th century Yuan dynasty Chinese classical Zaju verse play, primarily known in the West as the inspiration of Brecht’s “Caucasian Chalk Circle.” The play was based on a celebrated court case of Judge Bao, a magistrate still known throughout the Chinese speaking world of today for his wisdom and fair-mindedness.
A beautiful Begonia, is sold into a house of prostitution by her impoverished family, after her father’s death. There she is befriended by Official Ma, a wealthy and childless tax collector, who takes her into his house as his second wife. She bears him a son, Shou Lang, but earns the jealousy of his first wife, Mistress Ma.
Aiming to remove Begonia as a threat of inheriting the Ma Family’s fortune, Mistress Ma accuses Begonia of adultery and poisons Official Ma. She then blames Begonia for the crime and claims to a court that Shou Lang is her own child. As Begonia is about to be hanged, she is rescued by Judge Bao Zheng, who tactfully sees through the scam planned by Mistress Ma.
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