Ordinary people with ordinary problems

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 18, 2013

By Sarah Campbell

Director Beth Homan said Annie Baker’s “Circle Mirror Transformation” is a play about “ordinary, normal people with ordinary, normal problems.”
“It’s about a community center adult creative drama class in the fictional town of Shirley, Vt.,” she said. “And the playwright has it so that you get revelation of character and relationship through a series of acting exercises.
“What’s interesting about the play is how the class affects them and transforms them.”
Homan said the play consists mainly of short scenes with the characters interacting during class inside a ballet studio at the center.
“I’ve designed the space so that the audience is intentionally kind of on top of the actors, as if they are sitting the same room,” she said. “This space is absolutely perfect for it.”
Theater aficionados will especially enjoy the production, Homan said.
“Of course people who love theater and who have done theater are going to engage on a different level because they’ll know the games, they’ll know the silliness of it and they’ll know the sincerity of it,” she said.
But those who aren’t theater buffs will also appreciate the play, which Homan describes as both “really funny” and “very poignant.”
“Only one of the characters in the class are actors, they are all just regular people,” she said. “So like those regular people, people who don’t know much about the theater will come and learn and they’ll be able to sort of have an inside look into that world.
“Part of, I think, what the playwright is doing is talking about the power of theater and how both participating in and watching a theatrical experience is transformative in some sense and for these people quite literally.”
Homan, an associate professor of theatre arts at Catawba College, said she’s enjoyed working with the small cast, which includes community acting veterans and newcomers.
“The script is contemporary and the set is pretty minimal, so what I get to do as a director is spend a lot of time working with the actors, which is what most directors love,” she said.
Homan said the show includes a “few choice words” and minor sexual content, but is suitable for children older than 12 years old, especially those interested in theater.
“Circle Mirror Transformation,” opens today at the Florence Busby Corriher Theatre on the Catawba campus.

Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.
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