Thursday May 24, was the opening night for the GCTC’s production of Annie Baker’s Circle Mirror Transformation at the Irving Greenberg Theatre. Baker’s script has received high praise from critics and won an OBIE award for best new American play in 2010. I was curious to see what all the fuss was about so I set off on opening night to check it out.
Baker’s play takes place in the small town of Shirley, Vermont, at a creative drama class for adults. Those who have ever played drama games, will be able to get the jokes where Baker pokes fun at these exercises. Many will also be able to relate with one character’s frustration when she asks “are we ever going to do any real acting?”
The play unfolds in short quick scenes that span a five week run of classes. Over this period, many details are revealed about the characters lives. Unfortunately, in Baker’s script these revelatory moments are for the most part fairly banal and the narrative unfolds in a very predictable fashion. Even when Baker attempts to deal with a very serious issue (sexual abuse), it is handled in such an offhanded manner that it trivializes rather than explores the issue. I was very disappointed in the script and its trajectory. Baker has very little to offer her audience and after awhile the drama game gags wear a little thin. I found the whole thing two dimensional and rather trivial, but it had a few funny moments.
That being said, I was particularly impressed with the performance of Catherine Rainville (Lauren) and I look forward to seeing more of this talented actress in future. Sarah Mcvie (Theresa) had some fine moments as well.
For more information on performance times for Circle Mirror Transformation click here.