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Eagle Theatre presents "Circle Mirror Transformation"

originally published: 04/22/2022

Eagle Theatre presents "Circle Mirror Transformation"

(HAMMONTON, NJ) -- Acting is all about human connection. So is life. With Circle Mirror Transformation, a powerful and insightful early work by Pulitzer Prize winner Annie Baker, Eagle Theatre will present a night of unforgettable theatre that skillfully proves why the ability to connect and emphasize with others is more vital than ever, through the story of five individuals whose community center theatre classes change their lives forever. Circle Mirror Transformation will run May 12-29 at the Eagle’s historic downtown Hammonton venue.

In Circle Mirror Transformation, each of the five individuals who have come together to attend a theatre class at the community center in small-town Vermont has their unique reasons for doing so. But over six weeks of theatrical “exercises,” each of them will leave with the one thing they never expected: the chance to reimagine who they might be able to be. This witty and insightful play doesn’t just explore why art is important to our lives. It proves it, right before your very eyes, one transformation at a time.

Guest director Tai Verley, a theatre artist based out of Philadelphia, says that Circle Mirror Transformation is a “gift of a play” that explores concepts of empathy and connectivity she is always trying to engage with in her work as both an actor and director.

“All I have ever wanted, as a theatre maker, daughter, friend, lover, was to be understood; to have what I say and do matter,” Verley says. “This play condenses and multiplies those feelings, in ways I cannot describe but absolutely feel. It reaches into the simplest and silliest moments of all of our lives and charges the silence.”

Much like Xanadu, the first show in Eagle Theatre’s 2022 Mini Season, Circle Mirror Transformation taps into the themes of creativity, artistic expression, and empathy. But unlike the high-concept musical that opened the season, Producing Artistic Director Angela Longo says this production is about real, everyday people and situations – so much so that the company will be hosting numerous audience engagement events and workshops before and during the run of the show, intended to simulate the experience of being in a community center just like Baker’s play.

The cast includes Bob Weick (James), Caitlin Alvarez (Lauren), Charlotte Northeast * (Marty), Benjamin Bass * (Schultz), and Parker Sera (Theresa). * Actors Equity Association

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The list of events planned for the run includes:

Thursday Talkbacks: After performances on May 19 and 26, audience members are invited to stay for a talkback featuring intimacy choreographer Abby Weissman, who will talk about her work on the show and how it relates to the themes of Circle Mirror Transformation.

Friday Night Art Club: Before Friday night performances, members of the Hammonton Arts Center will lead a free demonstration on how to “Portrait Doodle.” 

Saturday Makers Craft Night: Before Saturday night performances, their friends at Hammonton Makers will teach a workshop in how to create clocks out of old vinyl records. ($5 suggested donation)

Sunday Acting Workshops: Before Sunday’s matinee, come join members of the Eagle Theatre team for a short acting workshop built around some of the same theatre exercises used in Circle Mirror Transformation.

“Part of why I'm so excited Eagle is doing this play is because it perfectly captures the way theatre can create a sense of community,” Longo says. “Similar to Marty's objective in the play, our goal with these workshops is not to turn anyone into an incredible actor, but to show how theatre can teach empathy, build trust, promote better self-awareness and strengthen relationships.”

The cast includes Barrymore Award winner Charlotte Northeast as group leader Marty, Bob Weick as Marty’s husband James, Benjamin Bass as recently-divorced carpenter Schultz, Parker Sera as former actress Teresa, and Caitlin Alvarez as high school student Lauren.

Circle Mirror Transformation performances will take place May 12-29, 2022 (Pay What You Choose Preview on Thursday, May 12; Opening Night on Friday, May 13), at the Eagle Theatre, 208 Vine St. in Hammonton, NJ. Tickets are $35, and can be purchased online at eagletheatre.org or by calling 609-704-5012 x. 1 between 10:00am and 4:00pm Monday-Friday. Performances are at 7:30pm Thursday through Saturday, and 3:00pm Sundays.

Circle Mirror Transformation is produced with the support of season producers Dr. Amerigo Falciani and Dr. Melissa Graule.

Eagle Theatre is dedicated to telling meaningful stories through innovative, dynamic, and professional productions that advance the experience of live theatre on our mainstage, in our community engagement, and through educational opportunities. Founded in 2009, the Eagle is a cultural center in downtown Hammonton, and is the largest Equity theatre in South Jersey.  




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