Stage set for transformations

While most of us spent the summer months pursuing activities as far from campus as possible, a small contingent of Washburn students were rehearsing, perfecting and performing in the Washburn University summer production of “Circle Mirror Transformation.”

Now, as classes resume and life once again awakens on campus, the cast and crew prepare for the fall opening of their summer project.

“A summer show is actually quite a bit different than a fall show,” said Samantha Heath, senior theatre major. “You don’t have classes. You’re going to the place especially for rehearsal.”

For many of the cast it was their first time working on a summer production and the transition took a little getting used to.

“It was a pretty new experience,” said Bryce Korf, a sophomore also studying Theater with an emphasis in Directing. “I would show up with my book bag and it would be weird because I didn’t have anywhere to go.”

Though the timeline of a summer show is greatly accelerated, the students are better able to handle the pressure with the absence of classes and homework.

“Studying lines in the summer was much easier,” said Korf.

Even with the lighter atmosphere of a summer audience, Korf, who plays the character of James, is optimistic about the show as a whole and what it will bring to Washburn in the fall.

“The show itself is very new,” said Korf. “When I first read the script, I didn’t really know, but as the play came out and we started doing it, I really began to love the show.”

“Circle Mirror Transformation,” written by Annie Baker, chronicles the experiences of five individuals as they participate in an introductory acting course. Though each character brings in his or her own baggage and history to the group, part of what makes the play unique is its sense of improvisation, its sense of reality.

“I’ve never seen anything like it before,” explained Korf. “I don’t think many other people have seen something like it before either. It’s basically real life and it’s brought to stage.

Given the show’s contemporary nature, audiences can expect a taste of what a real acting class at Washburn might actually be like.

“It’s new age-ish, but it’s not Avant-garde,” explained sophomore Theater major Abbey Geiss. “This show is about five people that are in a theater class, so you actually get to see kind of like a behind the scenes look at how actors prepare for things, how you learn to act.”

Different from many of Washburn’s previous theatre productions, “Circle Mirror Transformation” is much more involved with the present action of the characters, only informed by each character’s past without a lot of exposition or back story told on stage.

“You only get to know things about the characters through how they act with the other actors,” said Geiss. “There’s no prologue or epilogue really that tells you about them. It’s really cool. If you’re going to do theater here at Washburn and you see this play that is what you can expect.”

“Circle Mirror Transformation” will reprise for the fall with performances on September 6 , 7, and 8 at 7:30 p.m. and a matinée performance Sept. 9 at 2 p.m. Tickets are free with a Washburn student ID.