Ashland University Theatre opens season with Obie’s 2010 Best New American Play

Ashland University Department of Theatre opens its 2011-2012 “Season of Turning Points” with “Circle Mirror Transformation,” the 2010 Obie Award winner for Best New American Play by Annie Baker. Directed by Assistant Professor of Theatre Fabio Polanco, the performances are staged in Ashland University’s intimate Studio Theatre for 7:30 p.m. curtains on Sept. 29 to Oct. 1, and Oct. 6 to 8, and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 2.

Polanco’s director’s notes for this witty and inventive comedy emphasize “Annie Baker as an important new voice in the American Theatre. In an era where commercial theatre can seem largely dominated by flash, spectacle and blockbuster films turned into musicals, Baker has managed to make a mark with quiet plays that focus on silence as much as sound.

“Circle Mirror Transformation” is one of those pieces where five ordinary Vermonters come together for a six-week adult drama class. They are all looking for different things, but in the end their lives are transformed and begin anew in ways they could not have anticipated.

With 15 major productions in the 2010-2011 theatre season, “Circle Mirror Transformation” was the second most professionally produced play (outside of Shakespeare and “A Christmas Carol”) in the United States and it would not be surprising if in 2011-2012 it rose to the top. The biggest reason is Annie Baker’s deceptively rich writing and the compassion with which she renders her characters and their relationships. “Circle Mirror Transformation” could easily be a parody of a community center acting class, but it is not. Instead it shows us why it is so important that people come together to share their stories and themselves.

Set in a windowless dance studio in the town of Shirley, Vermont, the play includes five characters including “Marty” portrayed by junior musical theatre major Johanna Regan (Killingworth, CT); “James” played by junior theatre major Aaron Arnold (Chardon, Ohio); junior theatre education major Nathaniel Sayatovich (McConnelsville, Ohio) as “Schultz”; senior theatre major Tara Kodosky (Spencer, Ohio) as “Theresa”; and sophomore theatre major Erin Lingenfelter (Loudonville, Ohio) as “Lauren.”

The production’s scenic and lighting designs are created by Assistant Professor of Theatre Scott Chapman while junior theatre major Jensen Glick (Hilliard, Ohio) designed the costumes. Senior theatre majors Rebekah Frient (North Canton) and Michael Cook (Bowling Green) serve as the show’s stage manager and assistant stage manager, respectively.

Audiences are advised that this production contains adult language and situations. The play will be performed in one act without an intermission.

Season tickets are still available and include admission to all four main stage productions at a reduced price compared to single tickets. Season tickets for all four productions are: $32 for adults; and $28 for senior citizens, students and Ashland University faculty/staff. Single tickets are: $10 for adults; $9 for senior citizens, students, University faculty/staff; $8 for groups of 10 or more; and $2 for Ashland University students.

To purchase tickets, call the Ashland University Central Box Office at 419-289-5125, Monday through Friday, 12 a.m. to 6 p.m.; or purchase online 24/7 at http://www.ashland.edu/tickets. For more information about the department of theatre, visit http://www.ashland.edu/theatre, find us on Facebook or contact Tricia Applegate, coordinator of performing arts publicity and events, at 419-289-5950 or tapplega@ashland.edu.

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Posted on September 27, 2011, in Pop Culture and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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