Friday, May 19, 2017

Review of The Plagiarists' Circle House

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Circle House. It was conceived and edited by Jessica Wright Buha and it was directed by Kate Nawrocki. It was a promenade-style tour with three different tracks. Circle House is a rehabilitation center for people who don't want to leave the world and stop being ghosts. Tick (Jhenai Mootz), Tack (Judi Schindler), and Tock (Sara Jean McCarthy) are not ghosts, they are time, but also have the job to help the ghosts get on their way. You'll follow either Tick, Tack, or Tock and the ghost that they are in charge of. I followed Bracken (Elaine Small) and Tick. The show, at least the track I saw, is about memory, forgiveness, and how hard it is to let go. I thought that this was a really moving and enjoyable play. It had some really memorable and beautiful moments. I really liked it.

This entire show took place in the North Mansion in Berger Park and you walked around the mansion in the course of the play. One of the most memorable scenes for me was the scene when Bracken was remembering when she played this game with her brother Peter (Graham Emmons) and they would do this boat ride where one person would have their eyes closed and the other would be narrating everything that was happening. I thought it was a super sweet moment to see them play a game that seemed genuinely like a game kids would play. It seemed like they are both on an equal level, which might be unusual for siblings, but I think their bond was strong enough that it didn't seem fake. It is also really nice to see them throughout their entire relationship with each other, so you get to see how it evolves. It was a really interesting thing to watch.

There is one task that Bracken is set to do, which is basically to cut a worm in half. And she really doesn't want to do it, so she decides to name the worm. The audience gets to name the worm. In our case, it was Timothy. And that made you love the worm even more and worry for him. And then Bracken is basically hiding a fugitive worm in a Tic Tac box for the rest of the show. That is hilarious but also kind of sweet. And they keep giving you scares that Tick was going catch the worm. Of course you are on Timothy and Bracken's side the entire time. At points you might forget Timothy is there, but various encounters will remind you that he is there, and at the end Timothy is very important. I think this situation sets up your feelings about Tick to be more complex because she seems to be against the worm and Bracken.

There is an issue that is brought up in the show that I am still thinking about and want to talk about. Basically the entire point of this rehabilitation center for ghosts is to make it ok for them to let go. And there were people, kind of like their coaches, who were saying that is what they should do. But the coaches come to be seen as the villains of the play and they would always walk in and try to stop the fun of the vision that came with memories the ghosts had. I feel like even though you don't want to forget things, it is okay to forget, especially if it does bring you pain to remember. I think just dispersing into the universe after death is a good idea. If you can't see people you love in real life, I think letting go would be the best idea. But I don't feel like the play agreed with me in the end, and that's okay to have different opinions. But I do feel that the way the play ended was not the way I agreed with emotionally. It didn't make me like the play less, it just made me think about the issue more.

People who would like this show are people who like boat games, stories about memory, and fugitive worms. I think that people should go see this show. I think it is a really great experience, and I really enjoyed it. I would love to find out what the other stories that were being told were!

Photos: Joe Mazza at BraveLux

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