Marty (Bonnie Zellerbach, left) welcomes us to her creative drama class. (Photo/Salman Sohtra)
Marty (Bonnie Zellerbach, left) welcomes us to her creative drama class. (Photo/Salman Sohtra)

So, you think you can act?

Art November 06, 2017 01:00

By Pawit Mahasarinand
Special to The Nation

2,275 Viewed

Bangkok Community Theatre continues to present contemporary works



THE FUN of Bangkok Community Theatre’s (BCT) musical “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” is still fresh, and now BCT is giving us another reason to return to M Theatre where they’ve been staging Annie Baker’s 2009 Obie-Award winning drama “Circle Mirror Transformation” since last Thursday.

This off-Broadway play takes the audience to a creative drama class in a small town in Vermont. The New York Times’ Anita Gates wrote, “The artificiality of the acting games just emphasises the naturalness of the characters’ real lives and feelings. Group members pose as trees, beds and baseball gloves. They perform emotional scenes using only the words goulash and ak-mak. They pretend to be one another, telling their life stories. They write deep, dark secrets (anonymously) on scraps of paper and listen, sitting in a circle on the floor, as the confessions are read aloud.” She added that the play was “absorbing, unblinking and sharply funny”.

Marty (Bonnie Zellerbach, left) welcomes us to her creative drama class. (Photo/Salman Sohtra)

At the helm of the Thailand premiere of the English version is director Cian Green who staged “A Midsummer’s Night Dream” at the Iron Fairies years ago. 

He says, “I wanted a play that shows people learning how to act. Most people watching a stage play or movie don’t realise the amount of work that’s gone into making that piece of art. The final performance is only five per cent of the total effort with the other 95 per cent of the work being behind the scenes in rehearsals. This play challenges the stereotype of how people learn to act and hopefully will make the audience question their preconceptions of acting and if they could do it themselves.”

Green chose an intimate venue, Blue Box Studio, explaining, “It forces the performer and the audience to be as close as possible. It also has a massive wall of mirrors facing the audience, which is perfect for the title of this play. Having mirrors behind the actors means you can see everything that is happening on stage. We don’t have to worry about what the audience can or cannot see as they can simply look in the mirror to get another angle. This has helped us keep the staging and actors positions very naturalistic. ‘Circle Mirror Transformation’ is also the name of a specific acting exercise in which you transform the emotion or action of the person you’re observing. So ultimately I wanted to create this on a larger scale as the audience will be watching actors on stage and seeing themselves in the mirrors at the same time – and by the end will be transformed.”

Working in collaboration with Green are BCT veteran Bonnie Zellerbach who performs Marty Kriesberg, the resident drama teacher, and Stephen Thomas as James, her husband. Caitlin Lee Haas Chullasapya portrays Theresa, a young ex-actress running away to a small town; Jeremy Wang is Schultz, a recent divorcee wanting to come out of his shell; the youngest member of the cast is Shreshta Gupta as Lauren. 

AN ACTOR PREPARES

BCT’s “Circle Mirror Transformation” continues at Blue Box Studio, on 2nd floor of M Theatre on New Petchaburi Road between Thonglor and Ekamai from Thursday to Saturday at 7.30pm. 

The play is in English and recommended for audiences aged 15 years or older.

Tickets are Bt 500 at www.BangkokCommunityTheatre.com or email Info@BangkokCommunityTheatre.com.