Circle Mirror Transformation, directed by Bijan Sheibani, is a soft portrayal of human interactions. It is a play about beginnings and endings, with the underlining thought that endings are also beginnings if you choose to withstand them.
We are in a community centre and it feels realistic. Facing the audience is a mirrored wall where we can see our reflections, a door in the middle becomes a focal point within the play where characters enter and exit from. Followed by a changing room section to the left and simple props dotted around to give a natural feel. The set is static which becomes comforting to the spectator. We know the space, it feels like home. It is here at the community centre that we are introduced to the five main characters, who all come together once a week for a drama class. The structure of these drama classes helps us to delve deeper into the characters past, present and future lives. Although at times it is confusing to remember which character is who (I had to refer back to my programme).
The dialogue writer Annie Baker uses within the play is hyper-naturalism combined with long silences which create a beautiful bleak representation of human relationships. A comedic play which focuses purely on the acting of the actors. The only music and lighting element is during very smooth scene transitions where we are brought to almost blackout, and a simple sound effect which accompanies this. The subtle change of the clock every time a new scene happens is also a nice touch, assisting in moving the play forward. A refreshing play where we appreciate every word and action that happens, because we are allowed to dwell on them. The actors commit to the sometimes over dramatic moments allowing outbursts of laughter from the spectator. Actor Con O’Neill is fantastic, he is a wanted presence on stage and his comedy timing is on point. What sometimes feels like a slow pace scene is brought to life with a simple word or look from his character Schulz.
A short, simple and snappy play which brings the normality and stillness of everyday life to stage. A very enjoyable and worth while play.
Written by @BeccaPhillipson