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Obie-Award Winning Play Debuts in Santa Barbara
“Circle, Mirror, Transformation”
(Santa Barbara, CA) If you’ve ever wondered what goes on in an acting class, playwright Annie Baker’s award-winning, Circle Mirror Transformation is about just that – where real people explore their lives and creativity, as they gather weekly for an acting class taught at a local community center. Produced by DramaDogs, a Theater Company for two weekends only at Center Stage Theater from March 21 through March 30, the play ‘mirrors’ the outreach DramaDogs does in the local community with its body-centered acting classes. Life imitating art comes full ‘circle’ here. And yes, the people on stage will go through a ‘transformation’ which will hopefully resonate with audiences. Directed by Ken Gilbert, this troop of characters communicates something fundamental about theatrical expression. Winning the 2010 Obie* Award for Best New American Play, theatre reviewer, Charles Isherwood of The New York Times declared, Circle Mirror Transformation “the kind of unheralded gem that sends people into the streets babbling and bright-eyed with the desire to spread the word.” Gilbert, co-founder of the company said, “Ms. Baker’s play aligns with DramaDogs’ mission to develop or produce theatrical pieces that touch the human spirit. The seemingly simple setting of a beginning theater class takes the mystery out of the art form and reveals the power of self discovery and expression inherent in the creative process.”
Co-founder E. Bonnie Lewis agreed, “DramaDogs brings an artistic aesthetic to the performing arts community that not only entertains but offers a transparent experience of the creative process. Essential in all of our projects, is the invitation to our audiences to be inside the experience rather than simply be passively entertained.” Following each performance audiences will be invited to stick around for talk backs with the artists that demystify their creative process, illuminate the deliberate choices developed in their theatrical pieces, and give audiences the immediate opportunity to critique, comment, and express their experience. Lewis acknowledged, “The Santa Barbara premiere of Circle Mirror Transformation exemplifies beautifully the creative process we embrace.”
Set in the small fictitious town of Shirley, Vermont Circle Mirror Transformation is part of a trilogy of plays Baker penned about the quirky residents. An absorbing, unblinking and sharply funny play which traces the lives of a handful of small-townVermont residents who gather each week for an acting class taught at the local community center. The theatre “games” are funny, imaginative and sometimes absurd, but the real drama lies beneath the games—where secrets come to light in unexpected ways. By the play’s end we seem to see to the very bottom of these souls, and feel how the acting class has shaped their lives in substantial ways.
“Circle Mirror Transformation” is directed by Ken Gilbert with set & lighting design by Theodore Michael Dolas. DramaDogs cast features: Joe Andrieu, E. Bonnie Lewis, Maria Oliveria, Michelle A. Osborne and Craig Scott. Circle Mirror Transformation plays Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m., with matinees on Saturday & Sunday, March 23 & 24 @ 2 p.m. General admission tickets are $20; $15 for Students & Seniors. Special low priced preview, Thursday, March 21 all tickets are $10. Additionally there will be two “pay what you can” performances Saturday, March 23 @ 2p.m. and Friday, March 28 @ 8 p.m. These special tickets will only be sold at the door or on the phone (no online sales) – suggested minimum $5. Center Stage Theater is located at 751 Paseo Nuevo Mall, Santa Barbara, CA 93101. Box Office hours are Wednesday through Friday from 12 noon to 5 p.m. and one-hour prior to all shows. Phone (805)963-0408. Online: http://centerstagetheater.tix.com/Event.asp?Event=545415.
*Obie Awards are the Off-Broadway annual show honors
ABOUT Drama Dogs
E. Bonnie Lewis and Ken Gilbert, the Co-Artistic Directors of DramaDogs, emerged into the Santa Barbara arts scene nearly 20 years ago with their first piece entitled Air for One - a drama in eight scenes about separateness and oneness in the lives of Siamese twins. The work was heartfelt and daring, integrating movement, live music and a parachute set. The audience response was palpable with members approaching post show and thanking us for the powerful and truthful demonstration of what it “feels like to be a twin.” That piece set the tone and the bar for our work.
DramaDogs has four core members, Ken Gilbert, E. Bonnie Lewis, Michelle Osborne and Erica Connell. As a multi-disciplinary body centered theater production company it celebrates the creative process and dedicated to present work that expresses their personal relationship to themselves, each other and the community. DD will continue to bring diverse material that provides heart-felt theatrical experiences; offer body centered training programs educating the professional and non-professional alike in this process, and offer affordable educational outreach activities that ultimately provide acting lessons for life to our community.