Circle Mirror Transformation opens tomorrow!
Some people are already talking about it:
From Michael Shansky on Actors’ Facebook page:
Rose Anne and I had an opportunity the other afternoon to see a preview of Circle Mirror Transformation. Title aside, the Dog Story Theater proved once again to be an intimate and appropriate venue for this play. Outstanding ensemble performances by every actor under Randy Wyatt’s excellent direction. The play is a textured story of a theater workshop, but really it is an engaging, thought provoking piece of theater.. and once again, kudos to actors theater for taking the risk..the beauty of this space is that it allows an intimacy that good theater demands, and, best of all, emphasizes ACTING over spectacle, which local community theaters are weak representations of anyway. In a culture which emphasizes “distance” between humans, TMI, and texting as a substitute for even HEARING the human voice, seeing “people” honestly interacting right in front of you, provides not only an incredible emotional experience, but may ultmately teach us how we SHOULD interact with each other.
“I believe theatre shouldn’t be like television. It should be an event.”
When Circle Mirror Transformation (CMT) hit the regional theatre circuit several years ago, there was quite a lot of buzz. The playwright, Annie Baker, had made her career as a novelist before writing for the stage. Audiences didn’t just fall in love with the loveable yet broken characters who met once a week for an adult ed crash course in drama at a rural Vermont community center. They also fell in love with something unique that was happening with the script itself. The “metronome” of the play was different. Baker is very specific about the use of silence in the play–in a way that would seem pretentious if the play didn’t deliver. Critics referred to CMT as a “petri dish” where audience members could examine these five people intimately, and from a multitude of vantage points. The students play theatre games that force them to reveal themselves layer by layer, quietly tearing themselves apart and rebuilding themselves again. And it’s just a testament to the script that you won’t even see it coming. Somehow these silly little games become reflective of the crisis moments in our lives when we recognize ourselves in a cycle, take a deep look at ourselves, and find the courage to change.I fell in love with the play the minute I read it. I knew it would be very challenging–evocative of the pauses written into Pinter’s work, or into Chekhovian dialogue, but in a contemporary scenario. (Fortunately, I have a dream cast up to the challenge of it–and hell, it’s funny too.) I also knew I didn’t want to direct it on a larger stage. This is a play that is perfect for the space size that Dog Story Theater provides. Every breath, every glance of this stellar cast will turn your head and catch your breath. I haven’t had this much satisfaction in a rehearsal process in a long time. Baker’s tightly written script sucks you right in, magnetizes you to the stage in a way that demands close proximity to the actors. I think it makes for an entirely different kind of theatrical event. Come close out the summer with us–you won’t regret it.Randy Wyatt, Director
Show times for Circle Mirror Transformation by Annie Baker:
August 22, 23, 24, 28, 29, 30 & 31 – 8pm
August 25 & September 1 – 3pm
Dog Story Theater, 7 Jefferson Avenue SE, Grand Rapids