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Cirque de soubrette Play about actors canâ€™t seem to find its motivation...
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PAUL ZOE ANTONIO ANNETTE STEVE ELLIOTT CHRIS
by Charl e s Br o u sse
aving been present at three local sons), a carpenter/wood craftsman also in his premieres of plays by the â€œhotâ€? 30s, still aches from a divorce and is frustrated young New York-based writer that his powerful sexual urges donâ€™t match his Annie Bakerâ€”Body Awareness at the Auability to express himself when trying to serora Theatre last March, The Aliens at S.F. cure willing partners. Lauren (Marissa Keltie) Playhouse in May, and now Circle Mirror is a 16-year-old high school student suffering Transformation, an Encore Theatre/Marin from extreme depression brought on by an Theatre Company co-production (which unhappy home environment. And, ďŹ nally, I attended at its ďŹ nal preview)â€”I can say James (L. Peter Callender), the centerâ€™s adwith some conďŹ dence that she is one of the ministrator, is embroiled in marital conďŹ‚icts more original and distinctive new voices in that threaten his familyâ€™s cohesion. American theater. Please note that I havenâ€™t said anything That doesnâ€™t mean, however, that everyone about group leader Marty (Julia Brothers), will ďŹ nd her work appealing. At the Q&A with who ostensibly is guiding her troubled ďŹ‚ock director Kip Fagan following Sundayâ€™s mati- toward a resolution of their issues, but in fact nee, while there were plenty of the enthusi- has undisclosed problems of her own that astic responses that you contribute to the genexpect at these sessions, eral sense of tension. NOW PLAYING there was also a sprinkling Playwright Baker Circle Mirror Transformation of dissent from audiemploys a ďŹ lmic docruns through Aug. 26 at Marin ence members who comumentary styleâ€”brief Theatre Company, 397 Miller Ave., plained of being annoyed scenes with purposely Mill Valley. Information: 415/388by the playâ€™s slow developunďŹ nished end5208 or marintheatre.org. ment, many blackouts and ings, characters who lack of resolution. speak in incomplete So, whoâ€™s right? No sentences interspersed way of telling, since one personâ€™s orchid is with lengthy silences, a concluding â€œ10 anotherâ€™s dandelion (to use a rather tortured years laterâ€? rundown on what happened to simile). One thing is certain: Bakerâ€™s miniher characters. Visiting director Kip Fagan malist style, like its counterpart in MTC destages it on scenic designer Andrew Boyceâ€™s signer Cliff Caruthersâ€™ choice of soundscape amazingly realistic rendition of a typical musicâ€”which repetitiously builds layer multipurpose rehearsal room, Christine upon layer without any identiďŹ able climaxâ€” Crookâ€™s costumes capture the essence of the takes getting used to. In all honesty, I have to various personalities. count myself as a fence-sitter. Itâ€™s all done in the interest of verisiCircle Mirror Transformation, which de- militude and it mostly works. But is that rives its name from a common actorsâ€™ train- enough to make compelling theater? And ing exercise that requires participants to as- what about the intrusive minimalist oversume the identities of other group members, lay? Iâ€™m still on the fence. < really doesnâ€™t have a plot. Instead, Baker uses Contact Charles Brousse at firstname.lastname@example.org. a quasi-documentary approach to trace the interactions and emoA jaw-dropping moment from MTCâ€™s latest. tional changes that occur among four participants and their leader in a multi-week creative drama workshop offered at a community center in the ďŹ ctional town of Shirley, Vermont. Each of them has his or her own issues to work through. Theresa (Arwen Anderson), once a 30-something aspiring actress, has abandoned the professionally ultracompetitive, socially chaotic New York theater scene and now is uncertain about her future. Schultz (Robert Par-
Section of the August 10, 2012 edition of the Pacific Sun Weekly