Staff Report


Theatre Tuscaloosa will present Circle Mirror Transformation March 18-20 in the Dance Studio on the Shelton State Martin Campus.

In an artsy small town, an unlikely collection of strangers including a recently divorced carpenter, a high school junior, a former actress, and the teacher’s husband, sign up for Marty’s “Adult Creative Drama.” The group plays Marty’s imaginative (and sometimes awkward) theatre games, but through the course of the class the seemingly silly games generate some real-life drama.

This comedy from new playwright Annie Baker was featured on Top Ten lists of The New York Times and The New Yorker in 2010. It won Obie Awards for “Best New American Play” and “Performance, Ensemble” and was nominated for multiple Drama Desk Awards during its four-time extended run at Playwrights Horizon in 2009-10.

Brian Ernsberger, director of Circle Mirror Transformation, is excited about bringing the work of Annie Baker to Tuscaloosa.

“The play explores the lives of a diverse group of characters,” said Ernsberger. “Through the dramatic games and exercises in the class, the play explores their lives – their hopes, fears, and dreams. The playwright is so adept at writing her characters so that they speak like real people, with all of the awkward pauses, unfinished sentences, and humor.”

Ernsberger is an MFA candidate in Theatre Management at The University of Alabama. He has previously worked in both educational and community theatre as an actor, director and designer.

The five-member cast consists of new and returning faces to Theatre Tuscaloosa productions, including Bobbie Deahl, Renwick Jones, Deborah Parker, Gabrielle Perkins, and Wescott Youngson.

The SecondStage performances will take place in the Shelton State Dance Studio, a venue different from previous performances. “I think the space in which we have chosen to present the piece will bring the audience into the class with these characters,” said Ernsberger.

SecondStage is an extension of Theatre Tuscaloosa. The purpose of SecondStage is to provide a platform for trying new things: new plays, new ideas, and new talent. “Everybody needs a safe place to take a chance,” said Tina Turley, Executive Producer for Theatre Tuscaloosa. “SecondStage is a place to try out a new idea or to say what’s on your mind.”

The last SecondStage performance was Bubba, which took place in January 2013. Bubba is a one-man show written by Michael Thomas Walker, a UA grad, who will be returning to Tuscaloosa to direct Theatre Tuscaloosa’s summer musical, Hairspray.

Circle Mirror Transformation will be presented March 18 – 20 at the Shelton State Martin Campus, 9500 Old Greensboro Road.  Each performance will be at 7:30pm and will have general-admission seating. Tickets are $5 each and are on sale now.

For more information about SecondStage, Theatre Tuscaloosa’s 2014 season, or to purchase tickets, visit or call 391.2277.

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