When playwright Annie Baker wrote "Circle Mirror Transformation," her goal was to make you squirm. But not with gore, vulgarity or ribald humor.
She makes you squirm with silence.
In an interview HuntingtonTheatre.org, she said, "Silence and stillness are very exciting to me."
"I feel so over–stimulated and bored by a lot of the theater I see these days because of the breakneck speed at which it's performed," she said. "... When it feels like nothing is taboo anymore—we can have sex and violence onstage, and no one blinks an eye—I think the one thing left that really makes people uncomfortable is empty space and quiet."
What: "Circle Mirror Transformation"
Where: 1151 W. 40th St.
When: Nov. 8-9 and 14-17, 7:30 p.m.
How much: $15-$25
For more information: Click here
Chattanooga’s Theater for the New South will present their version of "Circle Mirror Transformation" at the South Chattanooga Recreation Center. The run of shows will be Nov. 8-17.
Click here for tickets and information.
This marks the second show of the company’s third season and will feature a first-time guest director, Grace Holtz.
Holtz said Baker’s use of silence was one of the reasons she decided to take on the project.
"Perhaps the most emotive thing about 'Circle Mirror Transformation' is how much isn’t said," she said. "There are numerous intentional lengthy silences inserted throughout the play. Through those silences, we as audience members connect to how uncomfortable it can be to express your feelings and how potentially detrimental it can be when what you said didn't go the way you planned."
The setting for the play is a community center drama class where five people meet every week for acting lessons. Ultimately, each participant learns more about themselves than acting. Through what seem like innocent theater games, the actors reveal their true feelings in both quiet and intense displays.
Actors are Dan Buck, John Hammons, Victoria Jocsing, Nina Jones and Marcia Parks.
The company is known for producing experimental theater in found spaces. The season’s first show, "Prometheus Bound," a Greek tragedy, was performed in Chattanooga’s Plow Building, a historic office space on the Southside of town.
On paper, "Circle Mirror Transformation" seems like a bit of a departure for the company, but Holtz said the play offers a chance to explore new territory.
"Even though it doesn’t at first appear to be experimental, I would still say this style of theater is rarely seen in Chattanooga," she said. "The show has experimental qualities that are so subtle that every audience member will take something away from it. "
"Some people won’t know what hit them," Holtz said.
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