Annie Baker’s acclaimed play "Circle Mirror Transformation" won the 2010 Obie Award for Best New American play and for good reason – the production is funny, moving, well-crafted, includes characters that are easy to identify with and is refreshingly simple. Effectively directed by Dexter Bullard, "Circle Mirror" projects a warmth and familiarity from its five cast members that is essential to the play’s success.
"Circle Mirror Transformation" takes the audience to a six-week community acting class that brings together a somber teenager, a former actress, a divorced carpenter, and an upbeat teacher along with her hippie husband. From a series of extroverted acting exercises in which some students take to with an over zealous nature while others perform on the opposite, more timid, end of the spectrum, to the general interactions between characters, this is a play that has audience members laughing out loud – and often.
Each cast member deserves kudos. Carmen Roman delivers a splendid well-rounded performance as acting teacher "Marty", while Steve Key ("Schultz") and Joe D. Lauck ("James") display their big time abilities to draw laughs. Rae Gray ("Lauren") nails her character’s downtrodden humor while Lori Myers ("Theresa") is nothing less than outstanding, delivering demanding physical comedy and punchlines in a seemingly effortless effort.
"Circle Mirror Transformation" is the prefect play to see if you are looking to stay away from the heavy or complicated and take in something light and funny that doesn’t make you think too much. The humor, though simple, is smart and the message, though simple, is endearing.
"Circle Mirror Transformation" is currently playing at Victory Gardens Theatre through April 10th. For more information visit www.victorygardens.org.