I first encountered “circle time” as a young mother, when I’d volunteer in my children’s preschool classroom and everyone would gather to share music, stories or “show and tell” type offerings.
Today I enjoyed “circle time” of a different sort, as Lizabeth and I headed to the Herberger Theater Center for the final Actors Theatre performance of an Annie Baker play titled “Circle Mirror Transformation.”
It opens with students in a community acting class lying in a circle trying to count from one to ten within certain parameters, for the purpose of developing a certain mindfulness of those around them — with mixed results.
Valley audiences can experience another Baker work, titled “Body Awareness,” during Actors Theatre’s 2011-2012 season. The work of playwright Sarah Ruhl (whose “In the Next Room” was a hit for Actors Theatre earlier this season) also returns as Actors Theatre presents “Dead Man’s Cell Phone.”
Their 2011-2012 season opens with “A Conversation With Edith Head” by Paddy Calistro and Susan Claassen — and also includes “Next Fall” (Geoffrey Nauffts), “Hunter Gatherers” (Peter Sinn Nachtrieb) and “Time Stands Still” (Donald Margulies).
Though I’d have been happy to simply sit and linger over the stunning set, designed by Kimb Williamson of Scottsdale Community College.
After the show we chatted and shared hugs with Maren Maclean (one of five actors in the show), who is one of Lizabeth’s most beloved acting teachers. Lizabeth was eager to share her college decision with Maclean in person. Her choice of an NYC school drew a fitting response: Duh!
Soon we were talking all things East Coast. Maclean’s upcoming reunion at “Indian Hills High School” in Oakland, New Jersey. Our attempts to snag “The Book of Mormon” tickets when we’re in NYC for Lizabeth’s college orientation.
I was keen on showing off my Mother’s Day gifts from Lizabeth — a bracelet and sterling silver earrings with a very circle/mirror vibe. I suspect I’ll be wearing them next Mother’s Day too — my first one without all three kids roosting at least part-time in the nest.
When we got home from the show, I made dinner before sitting down to relax with the latest issue of “American Theatre” magazine, a subscription I enjoy as a gift from my husband for another occasion I’ve all but fogotten by now.
There in the “On Stage: May/June 11” section I spotted a picture of Maclean, Staci Robbins and Rusty Ferracane performing in “Circle Mirror Transformation.”
Just more evidence of the “full circle” nature of my day, and of life. The only thing missing is a bit of “circle time” with two and three year olds. Don’t be surprised if you see me sitting cross-legged on the floor somewhere singing along with a bunch of preschoolers this week.
That’s the best “circle time” of all.
Coming up: More new season announcements