Montana Rep Returns Downtown with CIRCLE MIRROR TRANSFORMATION, Now thru 2/23

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Montana Rep Returns Downtown with CIRCLE MIRROR TRANSFORMATION, Now thru 2/23

After a year's hiatus for a review of its programming, Montana Repertory Theatre, the professional theatre-in-residence at the University of Montana, is set to return downtown to continue to present cutting-edge and innovative theatre to the local community.

Visions and Voices is a new initiative by Montana Repertory Theatre. Its goal is to investigate, read, workshop, and eventually produce new and challenging theatre experiences of distinction, innovation, and beauty in Missoula. Theatre events will be chosen or created that demonstrate evidence of vision and voice: vision to see the future of the art form and a voice that is at once unique, clear, challenging, and heartfelt. We aim to support local, regional and national theatre artists to bring to fruition their vision and dreams in an atmosphere of generosity and collective creativity.

Visions and Voices is not solely concerned with content. The initiative will also deal with how and where theatre events are presented, how much production value is needed for a particular experience, and what the nature of the relationship of the performer to the audience is. In an age where dozens of multi-screen experiences are available at the touch of an icon, what, indeed, is the need and nature of the Live Theatre experience? Vision and Voices will explore these questions because Montana Rep feels that in an increasingly isolated society where screens large and small dominate our entertainment and cultural landscape, the need for actual interaction will become an increasingly valuable commodity. It is the mission of Visions and Voices to explore the possibilities of fulfilling this most vital of human needs.

The first production of the Visions and Voices program will be Circle Mirror Transformation by Annie Baker. The play will be produced in Missoula at the Downtown Dance Collective, playing two weekends starting today, February 14.

The director of the piece is Sam Williamson, who directed and produced last summer's outstanding outdoor production of Macbeth.

Circle Mirror Transformation is as fresh and contemporary as any theatre piece to be found. Baker's writing puts a premium on language, specifically that of our own conversations. Baker's script is riddled with syntax and silences that strike eerily similar chords to our everyday speech.

The play, set in Shirley, Vermont, is a meditation on life through the lens of a small community adult acting class. Five eclectic participants dive right in, attempting strange, seemingly useless acting exercises that leave them exposing their souls and relating to one another on the most intimate of levels. Baker demonstrates the power art can have therapeutically in a simple and quirky way.

Visions and Voices (A new initiative from the Montana Rep) will present Circle Mirror Transformation by Annie Baker, running today, February 14-16, 21-23, 2014, at 7:30pm, with Saturday Matinees: February 15 & 22 at 2:00pm at the Downtown Dance Collective, 121 West Main Street. TICKETS: $15 General Public; $10 Student (Must present student ID). For more information, visit www.montanarep.org.

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