There is no question about it, Brecht’s The Caucasian Chalk Circle is one of the most beautiful plays written in this century—said at the risk of offending Bertolt’s ghost, for beauty was certainly not one of Brecht’s theatrical objectives. But human genius works in strange subconscious ways, and this drama transcends its specific ideological foundation to reach a much deeper or higher plane, examining the universal basis of interpersonal bonding as well as the nature of true justice.

Badal Sircar’s adaptation, Gondi, was one of his finest works during the Seventies, so Anamika Kala Sangam’s Four Square Critics Choice festival brought off a minor coup by persuading our publicity-shy major director to participate with his current revival of Gondi on March 10. Purists may argue that it is not Sircar’s own group, Satabdi, who stages this edition, but a little-known compatriot Third-Theatre outfit named Ayna. However, they cannot deny that Sircar personally directs this production.

True to Sircar’s doctrine, Ayna was the only troupe at the festival to reject the proscenium picture-frame of Gyan Manch and agree to perform on condition that they be allowed to use an ordinary space either out-of-doors or elsewhere indoors. As it so happened, a large upstairs hall functioning as a daytime classroom served Ayna’s purpose. In it, the actors and viewers on three sides occupied the same floor, bringing back fond memories of the original Gondi in the Theosophical Society hall on College Street.

If anything, this Gondi is even more stark, even more minimal, concentrating its effect on suggestion—almost as if Sircar takes for granted that we all know the details of the story; what matters is the telling, the performing of it. Ayna may lack experience, yet they make up through sincerity. One misses Sircar’s own portrait of the rascally judge Azdak, but the members of Ayna give the play their best, and the impression lingers on at the end.

(From The Telegraph, 9 April 1993)