UNC’s Company Carolina will present Annie Baker’s play, “Circle Mirror Transformation,” on Oct. 4 through Oct. 6 in Swain Hall room 104.
Company Carolina is a student-run theatre organization that produces at least six plays, musicals and other related events each year. Tickets for “Circle Mirror Transformation” will be sold in The Pit starting Monday.
Baker’s “Circle Mirror Transformation” follows five New Englanders in a six-week-long community theater class in Vermont and the relationships they form with one another. The show is naturalistic, reads like the transcripts of conversations and is not as flashy as other theater productions, said Hannah Fatool, a UNC sophomore and director of “Circle Mirror Transformation.”
"Throughout the course of the summer, we see them building their relationships with each other," Fatool said. "We see them falling in love. We see them finding tensions. We see them breaking each other's hearts."
Eloise Williams, a UNC sophomore and assistant director of “Circle Mirror Transformation,” said she and Fatool picked the play because it is unique, genuine and subtle. Passionate and dramatic moments between the characters happen off-stage, Fatool said, and what the audience sees on-stage are awkward moments filled with long pauses.
"In those pauses, there's so much interaction between characters, and there's so much just waiting to be said,” Fatool said. “It's all of these people not knowing when it's their turn to speak; it's people talking over each other; it's people waiting a really long time to tell another person what they want from them.”
As a director, Fatool has emphasized interpersonal communication with the actors and getting their points across, rather than just bold acting and outward displays of emotion. Williams said that it is her and Fatool’s job to help the actors carry out their vision as directors.
UNC junior LJ Enloe plays James, the husband of the teacher of the theater class.
"What's cool about it is that it's different every night when we rehearse it,” Enloe said. “Not just in that we're developing it as we go, some of the things are kind of improvisational."
Enloe became involved with “Circle Mirror Transformation” because Annie Baker is one of his favorite playwrights. Watching the play is visceral and jarring because it is so raw and realistic, said Enloe.
"It is very immersive and fascinating,” he said. "It's like if you took a bunch of people and put them in an exhibit and watched them."
Enloe said the play will positively surprise people and that it will be easy for them to connect to because they will see elements of themselves in the characters. Fatool agrees the play is relatable.
"It's nothing that you don't experience in everyday life," Fatool said. "You don't have to work hard to understand these characters or put yourself in their shoes because we've all gone through exactly what they're going through."
Fatool hopes the play will help the audience, especially college students, understand that each challenging and seemingly long moment in life is a stepping stone to the next moment.
"Even though right now can seem really difficult and confusing and scary, it's so temporary and we've just got to keep trucking on,” Fatool said.
Williams hopes after seeing the play, students will start thinking about the relationships they have at UNC.
“I hope that people will connect to it,” Williams said, “and I hope that it will encourage people to think about connections in their lives and the people that are around them.”
To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.