Small-town Vermont gets a big stage in new ATP production

In awarding Annie Baker the Best New American Play Award of 2009 for “Circle Mirror Transformation,” presenters noted she won because she captured life in a small, artsy Vermont town in such a touching and compassionate way.

In the play, which runs for 12 performances in August at the Actors Theater Playhouse in West Chesterfield, N.H., five relative strangers taking a six-week community acting class learn about trust, compassion, responsibility, and personal growth in the community in which they live - and more importantly, in their own lives.

“Circle Mirror Transformation” is the second play in Annie Baker's Vermont trilogy, following “Body Awareness” and preceding “The Aliens.” All take place in the fictional small town of Shirley, Vt.

According to director Josh Moyse, “Circle Mirror Transformation” will be instantly recognizable and resonant to local audiences.

“What the play touches on, and what fascinates me, is how our lives have the potential to be changed by the small things, which can, at first glance, be quite funny, but after a while can lose this quality - and one morning you wake up to the possibility that your life has profoundly changed. And no one's laughing anymore.

“I don't want to give the plot away, but the play is funny and exceedingly perceptive [as] to what life is really like. Either you keep laughing until it hurts, or you hurt because you laugh so much,” Moyse says.

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