Wednesday, November 16, 2011

UNIQUELY DIFFERENT "CIRCLE MIRROR TRANSFORMATION"

CIRCLE MIRROR TRANSFORMATION:


UNIQUELY DIFFERENT "CIRCLE MIRROR TRANSFORMATION"

By Chuck Graham, Tucsonstage.com
The mystery of communication is being explored quite inventively with Invisible Theatre's production of "Circle Mirror Transformation" by Annie Baker, directed here by Betsy Kruse Craig. The play won an Obie in 2010 for Best New American Play.
To some extent, to fully enjoy "Circle Mirror Transformation" you have to be ready for something a little different.
Be assured, however, the effort will be well worth it, because this play will also stick in your head on the way home. Each of us could be asking "How much different would my life be today if I had just spoken out that one time, so long ago?"
The cast is excellent and well balanced. It's always fun to see McKasson back on stage, her eyes twinkling bright as ever. Henriksen, a veteran Los Angeles actor, makes an engaging Tucson debut. Petty, just starting her career upon the stage, keeps getting better and better. Long-time acting friends Hill and Wees are always solid professionals.
chuck
Read the entire review here: CIRCLE MIRROR TRANSFORMATION:

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Impressive Performances | Review | Tucson Weekly

Impressive Performances | Review | Tucson Weekly:

Impressive Performances
Invisible Theatre takes us inside an acting class
by Sherilyn Forrester , Tucson Weekly
Circle Mirror Transformation is a strange and intriguing play by Annie Baker. Under the direction of Betsy Kruse Craig, the Invisible Theatre offers us a solid rendering of the piece. (The title refers to another acting exercise.)
The five actors who portray the students embody them with enough thoughtfulness and depth that we get to know enough about them to care for them. Molly McKasson (absent too long from Tucson stages), James Henriksen, Brian Wees, Carrie Hill and Lucille Petty are a fine ensemble.
The production's design components are impressive. Special mention goes to sound designer Gail Fitzhugh, who realized that with so many scene changes, the music that leads us from one moment to another is really like another character. Fitzhugh has created this presence with just the right feel and effect.

Molly McKasson and Lucille Petty in Circle Mirror Transformation at Invisible Theatre. - Tim Fuller
Molly McKasson and Lucille Petty in Circle Mirror Transformation at Invisible Theatre.
Talent shines in play about acting | Invisible Theatre:

Talent shines in play about acting

“Circle Mirror Transformation” is billed as a comedy, but it's also a heady drama about the limits of self discovery

Posted Nov 5, 2011, 10:15 am

Dave Irwin

TucsonSentinel.com

Written by Annie Baker, “Circle Mirror Transformation” won the 2010 Obie Award for Best New American Play and made a number of lists for top ten plays of 2009. It’s refreshingly unorthodox structure and setting - a rural classroom of actors playing non-actors who want to be actors - provides a meta-analysis on the nature of acting itself. It’s pure post-modern, but with a hint of quaint.

It must be said up front that portraying an amateur actor ironically requires considerable acting skill. Fortunately, this production has a balanced, talented cast that doesn’t overwhelm the intimate Invisible Theatre space. Director Betsy Kruse Craig keeps a subtle hand on the proceedings, letting the action simmer nervously until it explodes.

To call “Circle Mirror Transformation” a comedy, though probably better for marketing, is to miss more than half of its meaning. Watching five characters flay themselves to uncertain purpose is clearly tragedy. There are some laughs in particular moments, but overall, this is a cathartic work that says much about how we live our lives, questioning how truthful we are to ourselves and others.

Read the entire review here: Talent shines in play about acting | Invisible Theatre:

The cast of 'Circle Mirror Transformation' at Invisible Theatre. (Clockwise from upper right - Carrie Hill, James Henriksen, Lucille Petty, Brian Weez. Center - Molly McKasson

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Talent shines in play about acting


Talent shines in play about acting
“Circle Mirror Transformation” is billed as a comedy, but it's also a heady drama about the limits of self discovery
Posted Nov 5, 2011, 10:15 am
Dave Irwin
TucsonSentinel.com

In “Circle Mirror Transformation,” four small town wanna-be actors, eager to expand their horizons, start in a local community class with their instructor. Over six weeks, covered in 90 minutes of vignettes, they go through a series of enlightening and humiliating psychological exercises, guided by their teacher, Marty.

Written by Annie Baker, “Circle Mirror Transformation” won the 2010 Obie Award for Best New American Play and made a number of lists for top ten plays of 2009.

Fortunately, this production has a balanced, talented cast that doesn’t overwhelm the intimate Invisible Theatre space. Director Betsy Kruse Craig keeps a subtle hand on the proceedings, letting the action simmer nervously until it explodes.
Photo: Tim Fuller
The cast of 'Circle Mirror Transformation' at Invisible Theatre. (Clockwise from upper right - Carrie Hill, James Henriksen, Lucille Petty, Brian Weez. Center - Molly McKasson
To call “Circle Mirror Transformation” a comedy, though probably better for marketing, is to miss more than half of its meaning. Watching five characters flay themselves to uncertain purpose is clearly tragedy. There are some laughs in particular moments, but overall, this is a cathartic work that says much about how we live our lives, questioning how truthful we are to ourselves and others.

'Circle Mirror': Life, after all, is an acting game

'Circle Mirror': Life, after all, is an acting game
Kathleen Allen Arizona Daily Star | Posted: Sunday, November 6, 2011

"Circle Mirror Transformation," a gentle, well-done comedy that Invisible Theatre opened Tuesday.
All actors have got to start somewhere.

And unfortunately for many of them, that's in a basic acting class.

But this class exacts a transformation in these students as they go through the motions.

Of course, any class led by the teacher Marty (Molly McKasson) is bound to have an impact. McKasson infuses her with passion, generosity and compassion, and it's hard to refuse Marty her goofy games.

...good things can come in small packages. This production is a case in point.





TIM FULLER / COURTESY OF INVISIBLE THEATRE
Clockwise from bottom are Molly McKasson, Brian Wees, Carrie Hill, Lucille Petty and James Henriksen in "Circle Mirror Transformation," a small play overflowing with improvisational acting exercises. It opened Tuesday at the Invisible Theatre.








Friday, October 28, 2011

Take a peek inside the actors' studio
AZ Daily Star, "Circle Mirror Transformation" Preview:

No need to be insider to enjoy play focusing on accepting yourself

Take a peek inside the actors' studio

The play takes place in an acting class at a small community center in Vermont.

But don't let that scare you.

"People may think you have to be an insider" to get it, says Betsy Kruse Craig, who is directing the Annie Baker play.

"But it's so not about an acting class. It's about accepting who you are."

It's sort of a motley crew that has signed up for the class: a high schooler who longs to play Maria in "West Side Story"; a man struggling to get over a divorce; an actress who never made it in New York; and the husband of the woman teaching the class (at the urging of his wife, no doubt).

TIM FULLER / INVISIBLE THEATRE

"Circle Mirror Transformation" stars Molly McKasson, center, and, clockwise from McKasson, Brian Wees, Carrie Hill, Lucille Petty and James Henriksen.

...

"Circle Mirror Transformation" snagged an Obie Award, the annual Off-Broadway Theater Awards from the Village Voice, last year and it has been making the rounds at theater companies around the country since.

The script has received raves wherever it's played.


Read more: http://azstarnet.com/entertainment/arts-and-theatre/take-a-peek-inside-the-actors-studio/article_58f95309-6e25-5958-add5-01861793c9ab.html#ixzz1c5Jad9w9

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Theater review: 'In the Mood' romance, laughter and fun - Green Valley News: Local News

'In the Mood' romance, laughter and fun

By Regina Ford Green Valley News
Thursday, September 15, 2011


Nothing lifts the spirit more (and doesn’t induce a hangover) than escaping with a bit of comic relief. That’s exactly what Invisible Theatre offers with its current stage production of “In the Mood.”

This light romantic comedy by Kathleen Clark is staged in a posh, high-rise Manhattan apartment. For anyone who has ever had the pleasure of meeting IT’s founder, you won’t at all be surprised at how bold the set for “In the Mood” is and really comes to life. Claassen, herself, is larger than life in her attire and her stage is just a vibrant. The woman knows color. Claassen forever turns heads. She and James Blair designed the set and transformed her intimate theatre into an incredible luxury NYC apartment — heavy on the black, white and red . It’s simply striking. The apartment even has a (sometimes) working elevator upstage center, which is intentional and part of the script. This is all good, but then again, so is the cast.

Sally (Polly Schiltz) foreground, attempts to help her friend Perri (Betsy Kruse Craig) and brother Nick (Bruce Morganti) with a surprise party but ends up adding to chaos in this romantic comedy by Kathleen Clark.
Arizona Daily Wildcat :: Acting profs set right tone
By JASON KRELL Published September 15, 2011

There’s a good chance you haven’t heard of the Invisible Theatre before, unless you’re a theater student at the UA. This is an egregious error. Sadly, many students fail to appreciate the benefits that theater can offer. Might I suggest spending a night seeing “In the Mood”?

Not only was it fun to see UA professors practicing what they preach in the classroom, but the show itself was phenomenal. It seems ridiculous not to find anything that could use improvement, but “In the Mood” really covered its bases.

Read the entire article here:

Arizona Daily Wildcat :: Acting profs set right tone

Saturday, September 10, 2011

In the Mood Review

CLEVER CONVERSATION "IN THE MOOD"

by Chuck Graham, TucsonStage.com

With I.T.'s own Susan Claassen directing, "In the Mood" takes us back to those delicious times of words with bite. The director has found the perfect couple to portray the casual grace we associate with the art deco elegance of penthouse living. These two have so much chemistry together, they deserve to star in their own play.
...
Sleek and statuesque Betsy Kruse Craig swirls with the intensity of a self-made woman who knows what she wants and knows how to get it. Equally affecting is Bruce Morganti, the cool one. He's the freshly pressed guy who acts like he couldn't care less, but beneath that nonchalant exterior he's always thinking two moves ahead of everyone else.
Chuck




'In the Mood' fast-paced fun with delicious dialogue, sets
Kathleen Allen Arizona Daily Star | Posted: Friday, September 9, 2011

There are many things remarkable about Invisible Theatre, but this one always astounds:
The big sets on the tiny stage.
Not big in size, but big in concept and execution. That stage is constantly being transformed in impressive ways.
And so it is with "In the Mood," which the company opened Wednesday.
...
This is a fast-paced comedy with delicious dialogue by Clark, seamless directing by Claassen, and actors who embrace the froth with a giddy sense of delight.
"In the Mood" will put you in the mood for some hearty laughter and good fun.


Jack Neubeck, as an actor hired to pretend he's a carpenter, and Polly Schlitz, as the pianist with a scheduling conflict, are among the stellar cast of Invisible Theatre's "In the Mood."


Saturday, September 3, 2011

'In the Mood' ready, after many tweaks

'In the Mood' ready, after many tweaks

Kathleen Allen Arizona Daily Star | Posted: Friday, September 2, 2011





A playwright's work is never done. At least that's true for Kathleen Clark, who wrote Invisible Theatre's season opener, "In the Mood."

The play had its premiere at the Berkshire Theatre Festival in Stockbridge, Mass., last month.
And still, Clark is tweaking it. And so is Susan Claassen, who is directing the comedy.
...

TIM FULLER / INVISIBLE THEATRE
Socialite Perri (Betsy Kruse Craig) is preparing a surprise party for her husband when her old beau Nick (Bruce Morganti) shows up in the romantic comedy "In the Mood."


"I think what happened at Berkshire was that our aim was to try to get the comedy working, and we achieved that goal," Clark said.

"But then some of the emotional world got lost, so Suz and I are putting back in some of the emotional world of the characters, and deepening it a bit. It's a play with a lot of comedy now, not a farce."

And a play that Claassen definitely wanted to stage.

She loves "the sparkling charm of the piece, and though it is reminiscent of a Philip Barry play, it had a contemporary feel to it," she said, referring to the playwright of many sophisticated comedies, including "The Philadelphia Story," during the first half of the last century.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

NEW PLAY AT INVISIBLE THEATRE ISNEW YORK BOUND

In The Mood

NEW PLAY AT INVISIBLE THEATRE ISNEW YORK BOUND
  • By Chuck Graham
    TucsonStage.com
"In the Mood" by Kathleen Clark has been a work in progress, and it may still be one. Clark isn't sure. Invisible Theatre's own Susan Claassen is directing the production of "In the Mood" that opens here Sept.7 to kick off the venerable company's 41st season.
"In the Mood" is set in a very upscale penthouse apartment with its own private elevator. The story begins with a woman (Betsy Kruse Craig) planning a surprise birthday party for her husband (Kevin Black). When the elevator gets stuck with her unsuspecting husband inside, the dominoes begin to fall.
This high-rise tale turns on mistaken identities, infidelity, a stressed out marriage and love lost…then found. "In the Mood," is described as "a charming comedy that sings with witty repartee and sparkling humor."

Also in the cast are Jack Neubeck, Lori Hunt, Bruce Morganti and Polly (Bourke) Schlitz.
Clark will attend the opening night performance at Invisible Theatre on Sept. 7, then on Sept. 8 lead a post-show discussion describing how her play made that evolution from the page to the stage.
Read the entire Preview here:
In The Mood

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Morning Blend - Ann Hampton Callaway

http://www.tucsonmorningblend.com/videos/123756184.html
Ann Hampton Callaway 
Friday, Jun 24, 2011




“At Last” the Platinum Award-winning incomparable Ann Hampton Callaway will be back with IT in a not-to-be-missed evening and only Tucson appearance! She will touch your heart with her wit and magnificent musical artistry!

Invisible Theatre's Sizzling Summer Sounds 2011


Friday, June 17, 2011

Cabaret returns to Arizona Inn

Cabaret returns to Arizona Inn

NY SINGER BRINGS A COSMOPOLITAN FEEL TO IT EVENT

Cabaret returns to Arizona Inn

By Cathalena E. Burch Arizona Daily Star | Posted: Friday, June 17, 2011

Invisible Theatre launches its 2011 Sizzling Summer Sounds cabaret concert series this week with two events - "High Standards" with a cast of popular Tucson performers and "An Evening With Ann Hampton Callaway" featuring the critically acclaimed New York cabaret singer.

PHOTO COURTESY OF INVISIBLE THEATRENew York cabaret singer Ann Hampton Callaway will perform as part of Invisible Theatre's Sizzling Summer Sounds.

"We wanted to be able to showcase world-class talent that lives here and comes in in a setting where people really listen to the music," Claassen said. "I like to say it's a cosmopolitan experience on Tucson time: Have dinner, a cabaret show and hang out with the artists in the lounge and still be home by 10."

Performances: "High Standards" featuring Jeffrey Haskell, Jack Neubeck and Katherine Byrnes at 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday; "An Evening With Ann Hampton Callaway" 8 p.m. Thursday, next Friday and June 25.

• Where: Arizona Inn, 2200 E. Elm St.

• Tickets: $35, $99 for three-event sampler by calling 882-9721. Discounts available.

• Details: www.invisibletheatre.com

• Et cetera: Sizzling Summer Sounds continues through mid-July.

Read the entire article here:

Cabaret returns to Arizona Inn

Pure Entertainment | Review | Tucson Weekly

Pure Entertainment | Review | Tucson Weekly


Invisible Theatre's Sizzling Summer Sounds series returns to the Arizona Inn

Over the next month, there are 10 different concerts slated, with most of them featuring multiple performances. Some will showcase the very best of Tucson's musical talent, and some will feature out-of-town headliners in an intimate, cabaret-like setting. After each performance, the audience will be able to mingle with the singers and musicians in the Audubon Lounge.
"This is such a special opportunity," says Claassen. "All these folks are so accessible, and they're all people you'd want to know."
Jack Neubeck will be featured in Sizzling Summer Sounds on Tuesday and Wednesday, June 21 and 22. - William Dell
Jack Neubeck will be featured in Sizzling Summer Sounds on Tuesday and Wednesday, June 21 and 22.
Neubeck, joined by Haskell and Katherine Byrnes, will be featured in the first offering, called "High Standards," on June 21 and 22. He can hardly contain his excitement about getting to perform "some of the greatest songs ever written." And having been instrumental in developing the "Sizzling" series, he's thrilled to see its return.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Sizzling Summer Sounds opens June 21!


Sizzling Summer Sounds
(520) 882-9721 June 21-July 16!

Sizzling Summer Sounds


Ann Hampton Callaway will bring her mastery of multiple musical styles in for three performances, June 23-25. The award-winning composer/lyricist/singer/pianist/actress will not only sizzle, but with her full-hearted approach to making music, she is sure to smolder as well.

Although she now calls New York home, Callaway grew up in the Chicago area and says music was ever-present, so much so that it was "like breathing. I'm really grateful that I experimented with many different art forms, but I felt music was the most beautiful way to draw all the things I love and do into one field of endeavor."

Callaway says that she was particularly inspired by Carole King. "Whatever year Tapestry came out, I was walking around with my allowance and walked by the record store and saw the album. I had never heard of Carole King, but I was so intrigued by the album cover, I immediately bought it on a leap of faith. When I played it, it was an epiphany: 'This is what I want to do with the rest of my life. I want to write songs and sing songs from the heart like this incredible woman.'"
Years later, Callaway and King wrote a song together for Callaway's Slow album. "She didn't want to write the song until the day of the recording, and we worked from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. to finish it. Then she stayed to hear me record her song 'Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?' It was one of the greatest days of my life."
Callaway has also collaborated with Barbra Streisand. "I had written a peace anthem, and when I finished it, I just thought, 'This song belongs to Barbra Streisand.' It took seven years to get this song to her, and about 150 rewrites later, she recorded the song—10 years to the day that I wrote it." Streisand also sang Callaway's "At the Same Time" for Streisand's "millennium" concert. "So thanks to Barbra, I have two platinum records and one gold record and a lot of great memories. She was always honest, direct and sweet to me."

Having played several concerts in Tucson before—one with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra—Callaway says she's looking forward to the intimate setting at the Arizona Inn, where she and the audience "can really experience each other. The songs I choose to sing in my shows are so powerful, and I am willing to share who I am and put in all the heart and soul and imagination I can. A night with just me and an audience is a recipe for a lot of magic."

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Faux Bard of 'Premier!' tickles | Invisible Theatre

Faux Bard of 'Premier!' tickles | Invisible Theatre

A fun script and one of Tucson's favorite actors

Posted May 5, 2011, 7:33 pm