Circle Mirror Transformation | Redtwist Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Michael Sherwin, Emily Tate, Adam Bitterman, Lynda Shadrake, and Talia Payomo

Michael Sherwin, Emily Tate, Adam Bitterman, Lynda Shadrake, and Talia Payomo

Jan Ellen Graves

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through May 14 2017
Price: $30-$35, $25-$30 students and seniors
This 2009 work by Annie Baker, whose The Flick won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for drama, chronicles the progress of a six-week "adult creative drama" workshop in the fictional town of Shirley, Vermont. The earnest teacher, Marty (Lynda Shadrake), leads her pupils through rounds of theater games, trust exercises, and improvisation—which in Marty's less-than-sure hands prove to be less effective as acting techniques than as emotional outlets for her students. They include shy 16-year-old Lauren (Talia Payomo), who would rather be working on scenes than improv; Schultz (Michael Sherwin), a carpenter, and former actress Theresa (Emily Tate), both recovering from painful breakups with other partners and attracted to each other with predictably unsatisfying results; and Marty's middle-aged ex-hippie husband, James (Adam Bitterman). Baker's precise, pause-punctuated use of fragmented speech recalls the early work of David Mamet and Harold Pinter. Under Scott Weinstein's direction, the fine ensemble convey their characters' shifting relationship dynamics with well-crafted body language and vocal inflections. —Albert Williams

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