Circle Mirror Transformation

Connie Moore, Staff Reporter

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Last week the play “Circle Mirror Transformation”, written by Annie Baker, premiered at Whitman. The play was directed by Anthony Reale ‘19 and followed the lives of five participants in an acting class: Marty, James, Teresa, Lauren, and Schultz. Marty, the eccentric acting teacher, led the class with a variety of exercises that taught less about acting, and more about the emotional lives of the participants themselves.


“[‘Circle Mirror Transformation’] is a whirlwind of human emotion: love, lust, betrayal, sadness and rage. Annie Baker writes a kaleidoscopic view of humanity itself through her understated yet mesmerizing play,” Reale said.


The play was full of awkward real-life moments, love triangles and slow self-revelation. Under Marty’s instruction Lauren, a high school junior, slowly broke from her shell and opened up about her past and Shultz, a middle aged carpenter, finally worked up the self-confidence to ask out Teresa. Yet Teresa and Marty’s husband, James, realized their feelings for each other.


The director spoke of the play’s importance, and why he chose this piece in the first place. “Circle Mirror Transformation shows that even the everyday sadness or happiness we can feel is a distinctly strong and human trait.  That’s why I wanted to direct this play. It shows the beauty of empathy in our daily lives,” said Reale.


The beauty of empathy is clear as the play closes. The final scene shows the five students sitting in a circle writing down one secret they have never told anyone. The students trade papers and anonymously read aloud their peer’s secrets. This scene of revelation shows how far the students have progressed emotionally, comfortable with vulnerability and exhibiting empathy towards others. With this final scene, all five members emerge as different individuals. Although the students may not have become better actors, they leave the class transformed into individuals more in-tune with who they are performing in this show called life.


*Anthony Reale is the Humor Editor for The Wire.

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