People sign up to take a drama class for many reasons aside from the obvious: to find confidence, community, courage, to hook up, to heal… In Annie Baker’s play Circle Mirror Transformation now playing at Artists Repertory Theatre, five people bring their water bottles and their emotional baggage for a six week intensive theatre course at a community center, and discover all these things and more.
Marty (Beth Harper) is the free-spirited instructor who leads the motley crew through theatre games that start silly and and end up profound. Marty’s husband James (Richard Elmore), the recent divorce and carpenter Schultz (Jason Glick), the pretty New Yorker Theresa (Val Landrum) and moody teenager Lauren (Danielle Purdy) are also in the class. New romances blossom, old loves are tested and secrets are shared in the special intimacy of a rehearsal room.
Sometimes theatre about theatre can love itself a little too much, but this production as directed by Allen Nause stays away from cheap indulgences. It is a fun peek “behind the scenes” for audiences who love the theatre from their seats, and a touching reminder for anyone who ever braved the boards of the time they spent in a mirrored room playing silly games that “set their mind and spirit free.”
Circle Mirror Transformation runs until March 11, 2012. Reserve tickets on ART’s website here or call the box office at 503-241-1278.