The entire 90-minute play takes place in a six-week community acting class in a small town in Vermont. We mark the passage of time with a changing sign on the bulletin board announcing the week. The play is constructed as a series of short scenes depicting class exercises, as well as interactions between the characters during breaks or before class. As the play progresses we piece together more and more of each person's story. Teacher Marty (Doree Du Toit, read an interesting story about her acting journey here) wants to share her love of the art with her students, one of which is her husband James, an original hippie (Kurt Schweickhardt). Theresa (Yellow Tree co-founder Jessica Lind Peterson) was a struggling actor in NYC until breaking up with her boyfriend and moving to Vermont a few months ago. Lauren (Tara Borman) is a typically sullen teenager who signed up for the class to help her win the role of Maria in her school's upcoming production of West Side Story, and wants to know if they're going to do any "real acting." The final student, Schultz (Dan Hopman), is going through a bit of a mid-life crisis, recently divorced and dealing with living on his own and trying to make a new start.
|James and Marty act out a scene as Lauren looks on|
|an intense moment between Schultz and Theresa|
I almost wish I could participate in a class like this, that's less about acting than it is about connecting more deeply with oneself and one's fellow human beings. On second thought, maybe that's exactly what (good) acting is, as perfectly illustrated in this production. This five-person cast, with no weak link among them, fully rises to the requirements of the material - being fully present and in the moment, speaking the way real people speak, with all the awkwardness of real life. If you've never made the trip up to Osseo, now is a great time to do it. Circle Mirror Transformation is one of the best shows I've seen at Yellow Tree Theatre. If you love funny, quirky, real, and poignant theater, you won't be disappointed. Playing now through February 24.