Caucasian Chalk Circle

by Mark Nichols

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    Music by Mark Nichols, Lyrics by Bertholt Brecht with additional translations and lyrics by Mark Nichols. A number of songs for the epic play, Caucasian Chalk Circle. Music inspired by traditional Grusinian folk music and traditional music of Georgia. First performed at Whitman College in 2004. Directed by Chris Petit. Sheet music available from stiltbat@hotmail.com Cover Photo by Mark Nichols is of Julie Lewis.

     

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released November 13, 2012

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Mark Nichols Los Angeles, California

Is a writer, director, composer and filmmaker, but is known mainly as a creator of music theater works, including HOW TO SURVIVE THE APOCALYPSE: A BURNING OPERA, LITTLE BOY GOES TO HELL, JOE BEAN, and for his popular score for Brecht's CAUCASIAN CHALK CIRCLE. Info at www.thereallybig.com ... more

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Track Name: Once Upon a Time
Once upon a time
When the blood ran like rain
And this city was called
"The city of the Damned"

It had a governor
His name was Georgie Abashvilli
Once upon a time

He was extremely rich
He had a beautiful wife
He had a healthy little baby
And a wonderful life
Once upon a time

No other governor in Grusinia
Had as many horses in his stable
Had as many beggars on his doorstep
As many soldiers in his service
As many petitioners in his courtyard

Once upon a time
Track Name: The City is Still and Quiet - Part 1
The city is still and quiet
Pigeons strut in the churchyard square
A soldier of the palace guard is loitering there
He's joking with a kitchen maid
As she comes up from the river with a bundle
Track Name: The City is Still and Quiet - Part 2
The city is still and quiet
But why are there armed men
The governor's palace is at peace
But why is it a fortress

And the governor returned to his palace
And the fortress was a trap

And the goose was plucked and roasted
But the goose was never eaten
And noon was no longer the hour to eat
And noon was the hour to die
Track Name: Blind Man
Look at you Blind Man, you're walking tall like God
Taller than the bent-back throng
Sure of hired fists, sure of all your power
Your might has lasted long
But long is not forever, forever's much too long

Wheel of fortune take a turn
Turn from age to age
Hope eternal hope on fire
Fortune burn with rage

Look at you blind man, what are you going to do?
What good is an architect, when a simple carpenter
That would be substantial to build a brand new home
It won't be in a castle, but a little hole in the ground

Wheel of fortune take a turn
Turn from age to age
Hope eternal hope on fire
Fortune burn with rage
Track Name: I Will Have Been Waiting There
Go calmly in to battle now
Your bloody bitter battle
From which so few return
But you'll come back I know you will
On a day, a day so fair,
You'll come riding over the hill to where

I will have waited there,
I will have waited there,
I will have been waiting there,
I will have waited there
I will have been waiting there

when you come back from battle
The bloody, bitter battle
No boots will lie before the door
When you return on a day so fair
When you come riding over the hill to where

I will have waited there
I will have waited there
I will have been waiting there
I will have been waiting there
I will have waited there

And the pillow beside mine
Will have been empty all the time
My mouth will have been kissed
You will have been greatly missed by one
When you return from battle
I will have been waiting there

I will have waited there
I will have waited there
I will have been waiting there
I will have been waiting there
I will have waited there
Track Name: And the Child Called to Her
And she heard, or she thought she heard
A low voice calling
And the child called to her
Not whining but calling quite sensibly,
Or so it seemed.
"Woman," it said, "help me",
And it went on not whining, but saying quite sensibly
"Know woman, he who hears not the cry for help
But passes by with troubled ears, will never hear
The gentle call of a lover nor the blackbird at the dawn,
Nor the happy sigh of the exhausted grape picker
At the sound of the angelus [bell].

This song is a very "Brechtian" theater-poem, because theatrically, it presents the POV and voice of a baby, as if to say, "this is what the baby would say..."
Track Name: Barefoot Girl
[Grusha escapes the soldiers running into the high mountains]

How can a barefoot girl escape,
Oh, how, tell me how can a barefoot girl?
Leave those bastards in the dirt,
Damn them all to hell, she's just a barefoot girl!

The Ironshirts are close behind the bloodhounds smell a trail
They set a trap, no time to nap
Those Kosak pricks can't fail
They hunt by day they hunt by night
With torches blazing high for light
How can the girl put up a fight
It doesn't quite seem fair or right!

CHORUS

Pursuers never tire, and butchers never sleep
Like well-diggers will dig it deep
And shepherds will abide their sheep
Those bastards have a writ to keep
It's Atilla the Hun verses Little Bo Peep
Track Name: Because She's Free (So Happy)
Look how happy Grusha is, she's on her own she's rid of him
Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, she's happy, so happy, she's happy
So happy, she's happy and free
And that is that, she's rid of the brat,
Imagine how happy she feels about that
She's rid of the child, she's single and free
Imagine how happy that you would be

Da da da

Even though I've done my part
That burden had a beating heart
If you are robbed of heart and soul
You start to feel like there's a hole
I guess that's why I'm sad
I'm sad because I'm free
She's sad because she's free,
She's sad because she's free
She's happy but she's sad because she's free
She's happy but she's sad because she's free
Because she's...
Track Name: She Runs
Run, kind girl!
The soldiers are coming fast
Help the helpless!
So she runs
Track Name: Nobody Wants You
Why did you have a nose so small
Why did you have to speak to me at all?
My legs are tired and my back is sore
From where you kicked me to go faster

So let us tear your silk shirt
Wrap you in rags no one will ever know
We'll baptize you in a nearby stream
With the mountain's glacier ice water

Nobody wants you, so I'll guess I'll have to take you
Because nobody will take you,
Then I guess you'll have to take me too
Track Name: Thing Don't Always Go the Way They're Planned
Your father is a bastard and your mother is a whore!
But baby all the nice people gonna love you even more
The child of blood spilt tiger brings the baby horses feed
And to the mother's milk the son of snake knows what they need.

Oh, things don't always go the way they're planned.
Track Name: Somewhere in Between
Oh my dear, my dear, when you go to
Fight as soon you will when death is coming the hill, dear
Don't go with the front line, dear
Also, don't go at the back for they will die of red smoke there.

Stay, somewhere in between, dear
Near the standard bearer, in the center
Somewhere in between

Those in front, dear, always die, dear
Only those who stay in the middle ever come home
The first will die, the last are also killed.

Stay, somewhere in between, dear
Near the standard bearer, in the center
Somewhere in between
Track Name: The Drunken Peasant Song
When pretty Miss Fatbottom Wed
A rich man with no teeth in his head
They inquired, "is it fun?"
She replied, "No it's none,
So I sleep with a candle instead."

There once was a girl from Moscow
Who worked as a milkman's house frau
And when he would dream, he'd rise up like cream
And he'd have to be milked like a cow

There once was pretty young lass
Who took as a husband an ass
On the wedding night he
Asked if she liked donkey
With a smile she said, "No sir, I'll pass"
Track Name: So Many Words Left Unsaid (The Soldier)
So many words are said,
So many words are left unsaid

The soldier has come
Where he comes from he does not say
Hear what he thought, but did not say

The battle began grey at dawn
Grew bloody at noon
The first man fell in front of me
The second fell behind me
The third fell at my side
I trod on the first, left the second behind
The third run threw by the captain
One of my brothers died by steel
The other by smoke
My neck caught fire
My hands froze in my gloves
My toes froze in my socks
I fed on aspen buds,
I drank maple juice
I slept on stone in water
Track Name: So Many Words are Left Unsaid (Grusha)
There was yearning, but
There was no waiting

The oath is broken
Neither could say why

Hear what she thought, but did not say

While you fought in the battle, love
The bloody battle
I found a helpless infant and
Had not the heart to destroy him
I cared for a creature who was lost
Had to look for breadcrumbs,
I broke myself for that which was not mine
That which other people started
Someone must help
The little tree needs water
The lamb loses its way
When shepherds are asleep
And its cry is unheard
Someone has to help it
Track Name: Am I Right?
Why don't our sons bleed any more
And why don't our daughters weep?
Why is it only the slaughterhouse cattle who seem to have blood in their veins?

The king must have a new province
So the peasant turns over his savings, his bread
They come and search under his mattress for him
And god rest his soul if he hides it he's dead

Raise the roof off the world
Rip the roof off his cottage
That drive our good men to the ends of the earth
So the "great ones" can have a nice meal by the fire
Watch the greedy pig widen his girth

And the soldiers'll kill each other marshalls salute
It's all in good fun, gentlemen, that's how it's done
It's all the peasants and soldiers are made for
The battle was lost, but the helmets were paid for

That's why our sons don't bleed anymore
And that's why our daughters don't cry

Am I right? Yes you're right!
Yes, yes, you're right yes you're right
Oh, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, you're right!

And me who can't even find their dicks rule countries now
Offices jam packed streets overrun
With officials, beaurocracies,
I'm telling you that's the status quo, buddy,
That's how it's done!

One man's got no home, while one's got twelve horses
A man who can't count to four needing eight courses
the weaver goes home from his loom dressed in rags
While the corn farmer's starving with his empty corn bags

Am I right? Yes you're right!
Yes, yes, you're right yes you're right
Oh, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, you're right!

And that's why don't our sons bleed any more
And that's why don't our daughters weep?
And that's why only the slaughterhouse cattle who seem to have blood in their veins
Track Name: Azdak (Parts 1 thru 4)
Part 1

When wisdom burned to ashes
And blood ran down the street
And rats poured from the gutters
And maggots soured the meat

When the towns were set on fire and
The river of blood rose higher

And cockroaches crawled out of every crack
And you'd kill your only friend for a little bric-a-brac
And the courts overrun with schemers
And the church was made up of blasphemers
Your son stole food from the lowliest poor
And your wife became a festering whore

And the only one on the level
Is the one up there on the bench
Who can it be? Who can it be?
Azdak!

Part 2

While won't do much for a shilling
But for a pound they might be willing
Twenty pounds and it's in the sack
Fifty pounds he won't be back

As for those without a penny
As for those without a horse
They've only got one recourse
A lone and honest legal forcer
Who can it be? Who can it be?
Azdak!

Part 3

All mankind should love each other
But bring an ax when you talk to your brother
When miracles are preaching
A good sharp blade will do
His honor of the high court knew
And understood it too!

When sharks the sharks devour
Little fish will have their hour
Tis fishy to fix the scales of power
Thankfully he's in the ivory tour
The poor man's magistrate
Who's the man to seal your fate

The one the only potentate
Who's the wise, who's the great
Who can it be? Who can it be?
Azdak!

Part 4
He gives to the forsaken
All the riches from the rich that he hath taken
Good and evil man he
Smiled upon Grusinia's granny
Our man's neither mamby
Nor is our man pamby

Justice for nothing
Mercy for free
Give it the poor, give it to me!
Who can it be? Who can it be?
Azdak!
Track Name: Azdak (Part 5)
The drowning he did save them
Broken laws like breath he gave them
Justice to the poor and lowly
Like an angel but not so holy

Swim them all to shore on his tired, crooked back
For two years was his pleasure
Give the beasts of prey his measure
From the forests to the hallows
He could smell the dung from the gallows

In the use of the noose he was never slack
Like a cornered wolf he would take on the pack
The only one with the point
Is the man sitting there on the tack

Who can it be? Who can it be?
Azdak!!
Track Name: Never Fear the Daylight
He who walks on shoes of gold
Tramples down the week and old
He who frowns all day long
Can't form the vowels of a sacred song

And a led heart made of stone
Makes for a heavy weight to own
And being greedy low, and bad
Is hard on even an evil lad

So let starvation be his fear
Not the starving who are hungry, dear
And let him fear the dark of night,
But never fear the daylight

Never fear the daylight!
Track Name: An Age of Justice
What there is shall go to those
Who are worthy of it
Children to the loving folks
That they may grow strong
Carts to good drivers
Those who drive them well
And the valley to the waters
That it may give fruit