Imagine placing five strangers, from completely different backgrounds, together in the same room for several hours a day, for five weeks straight. Sounds like things are about to get messy right? Right. No Refund Theatre took a turn for the contemporary this week with their production of the 2009 Broadway hit, “Circle Mirror Transformation.”
The show takes place in a small town in Vermont where five strangers gather to take part in an adult acting class. However, as they soon discover, the class will teach them more than just acting. Through countless exercises, both heartbreaking and ridiculous, quiet wars are waged, emotions bubble up, and healing processes begin. These five strangers, through the aid of an acting class, take a creative and spiritual journey together, which leads them to a deeper understanding of themselves and those around them.
The show is directed by senior Claire Preston, who’s a longtime veteran of No Refund Theatre. In fact, she’s been with the organization since the start of her freshman year — often either acting, working tech, or assistant directing. But her experience doesn’t stop there; she’s been doing this kind of stuff since high school.
“In high school, I did a bit of student directing here and there, but this is my first time directing for NRT. It’s been a great experience,” Preston said. “I have a really great cast– they take direction really well, and they work really hard. There’s a lot of little emotional nuances to the show that I was concerned about them portraying, but they’ve also handled those really well.”
“Circle Mirror Transformation” is no light-hearted tale. It deals with issues of alcoholism, depression, anxiety, and abuse — both mental and physical. In a lot of ways, it seems as if no stone is left unturned. There’s something in it for everyone to relate to on a deeper level. It’s a deeply personal play. But for Preston, however, there is one overarching theme to which she believes everyone should be able to relate.
“At the end of the day, everyone has their own stuff going on, stuff you don’t necessarily know about. They have their own insecurities and stories. If you just take the time to get to know someone, you can learn a lot about them, and that can do a lot of good for both you and them,” she said.
To check the show out for yourself, attend one of several productions throughout the remainder of the week. Productions of the show will be put on by NRT and SPA LateNight from September 21-23 in the HUB Flex Theatre at 9 p.m. You can find more information about the play on NRT’s event page here.