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Stetson Theatre Arts Presents Award-Winning ‘Circle Mirror Transformation’

The group is kneeling in front of a large mirror, in praying position, looking toward heaven.
Students and their teacher pretend to pray as part of an acting exercise in Annie Baker’s “Circle Mirror Transformation,” presented at Stetson’s Second Stage Theatre. Pictured (front to rear) are: Elijah McCoy, Drake Cunningham, Reed Wilson, Rae Nobles and Rachel Harrison. Photos by Ken McCoy.

Stetson University stages a student-directed production of the Obie Award-winning play “Circle Mirror Transformation” by playwright Annie Baker. The production is directed by Stetson Theatre Arts major Dakota Stitsinger and will take place Jan. 17, 18, 20 and 21 at Stetson’s Second Stage Theatre, located at the Museum of Art – DeLand.

Set in Shirley, a made-up town in Vermont, this play centers on a six-week community acting workshop, where four students and a teacher — all with various levels of acting experience — take a dive into the world of theater. Through performing various acting exercises, the characters learn what it really means to be an actor and how there is more to acting than people may originally think. They also learn more about the people around them — their histories, struggles and talents. Relationships of all kinds will form and break as everyone learns to expose themselves in the way only actors can.

Stitsinger is directing “Circle Mirror Transformation” for her senior project and wants the audience to experience the theatrical process in action. Cultural Credit is available for students, and the play is open to the public.

The two stand in a heated pose as the other two watch from behind.
An argument between Marty and James is interrupted by Schultz and Teresa in “Circle Mirror Transformation.” From left are Rae Nobles, Elijah McCoy, Drake Cunningham and Reed Wilson.

“’Circle Mirror Transformation’ is a play about the theater process,” said Stitsinger. “Generally, people look at theater and see the final picture, but this show is everything that happens before the final point. This play also speaks to the fact that everyone involved with theater knows — the people you work with become your family. They see you laugh, cry, and sometimes, they are the reason you laugh or cry. I hope parents of theater students will get a glimpse into what actually happens during all of those hours spent at rehearsals and start to understand why we keep returning to the stage. And who knows? Maybe other students will take an interest in theater, knowing that our best memories come from the moments before the curtain opens.”

If You Go:

He is on his knees reaching out to her, but she has her back to him and arms crossed.
In one final attempt, Schultz begs Teresa to stay with him in “Circle Mirror Transformation.” From left are Drake Cunningham and Reed Wilson.

Cast: Rae Nobles (Marty), Elijah McCoy (James), Drake Cunningham (Schultz), Reed Wilson (Teresa) and Rachel Harrison (Lauren)

Where: Second Stage Theatre at the Museum of Art – DeLand, 600 N. Woodland Blvd., DeLand (adjacent to the DeLand campus)

When: 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 17, Friday, Jan. 18, and Monday, Jan. 21; and 6 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 20

Admission: Free (donations will be accepted)

Parking: Free