Circle mirror perception of life

The cast of Circle Mirror Transformation during one of the shows.
Center: Danielle Shanahan, left to right: Danny Kopitke, Annie Schwaner, Gabe Heffernan, Emily Kennebeck.  Photo by Monica Nelson and Kateri Determan.

By Grace King, The Circuit.

“Circle Mirror Transformation,” written by Annie Baker and directed by Scott Cox was a play shown this past weekend. The play’s performances began on Feb. 10 and went through the night of the 15. in the O’Malley and McAllister Auditorium.

“Misunderstood, artsy, boring, needy and pathetic,” is how the cast of Circle Mirror Transformation— Emily Kennebeck, sophomore, Danielle Shanahan, senior, Gabe Heffernan, junior, Annie Schwaner, senior, and Danny Kopitke, junior, would all describe their individual characters.

Most of the characters were unconventional and proved more challenging for some of the actors to play.

“It took me out of my comfort zone, because I have never played an old man,” said junior Gabe Heffernan, who played James. “It was difficult, because he’s a boring guy— he has no hobbies. He is unlike any character I have ever played before. The age for sure was a big obstacle.”

The play presented many themes. It advocates the idea that people affect other people. As the result of this, the people that we meet in our lives change us and whether it be for better or worse will be decided in due time.

I hope the audience takes away from this play how much our actions affect other people—-how much we don’t realize how we can transform other people’s lives, Heffernan said. “These are people who are broken, but they still develop likings and disliking for each other and they have to see through the grittiness of other actions— which we have to do in life anyways— because we’re Catholic and Jesus said so.”

“Circle Mirror Transformation” has a lot of complex themes and it’s no wonder why they chose to perform it. The cast feels the play has many relatable themes for everybody.

“This show is universal, because it shows the lives of very real people and there are people who have been in these situations,” said sophomore Emily Kennebeck, who played Lauren. “You feel for them you know what it’s like to be an awkward 16 year old that doesn’t have any friends. Most people know what it’s like to be divorced at 48.”

A couple nights into the show, there was a respondent that came to critique and give their praises about the show.

“One of the things she [the respondent] said was that everyone knows these people,” Kennebeck said. “We all have someone in our lives that relate to these people. You want to feel for these people—you want to cry with them, you want to laugh with them. Universality of humanity as a whole is really strong in this show.”

The play also teaches about the vulnerabilities that all individuals have whether they are aware of it or not. Each person has their own vulnerable moments in their lives and situations in the play feed off of each character’s vulnerability.

Kennebeck thinks human nature in itself is full of vulnerable people. We are vulnerable and we are afraid of getting hurt so we build these walls up of anger, grief, and pain and leave people on the other side of them.

Pertaining to the show, the walls that are built can bring anger, pain or, like the show, secrets.

Sometimes the walls get built around ourselves without realizing what is going on because it is in human nature to fear being vulnerable and to try to protect yourself from pain, Kennebeck said.

“Circle Mirror Transformation” advocates that due to human nature’s natural instinct to want to protect themselves from pain, individuals may lash out at others.

“Once someone that watches this show connects that we are only mean or short with each other, because we are afraid of getting hurt or being vulnerable— our fallen nature makes us that way,” Kennebeck said.

Kennebeck’s comments reveal the theme of “Circle Mirror Transformation” — since we are all human, our fallen nature prevents us from breaking down walls and letting people in. Some may lock themselves up to protect and secure their vulnerabilities and some may break down those walls with the assist of others.