A new era begins Friday for the space that once housed Studio Arena Theatre when "Circle Mirror Transformation" takes to the stage at 710 Main Theatre.
"This is a big, first step, bringing people back to 710 Main. We're all going into this optimistically. We know there's got to be some trust rebuilt, you know with coming back into that space," said director Scott Behrend of Road Less Traveled Productions.
"But I think the vision of bringing local theatre back into that space and helping to re-energize the building and the district is really important and I hope that people will want to come and see this play and come back to see live theatre in that great building."
The play "Circle Mirror Transformation" presents a promising initial choice for 710 Main. An Obie Award-winner following its Off-Broadway debut in 2009, it has been produced in regional theaters around the country.
According to Scott Behrend, "Circle Mirror Transformation" has been well-received. He's hoping for more of the same during its run in Buffalo through February 17th.
"The basic construct of this play is that it's five very different people who really don't know each other who are going to take this adult education theater class. If you've every seen "Waiting for Guffman," this may bring some hilarious moments to your mind in the same way. This play is somewhat along that tradition. It's a really interesting, character-driven piece where we get to see these people play these theater games and get to know each other...how they are transformed by this experience, then ultimately learn a lot more about themselves."
Behrend says he can relate to the characters as they work through the experience.
"Actually, I started my life in the theatre as an actor, then I was trained as a designer, and then as a director, so I've had this evolution of theatre jobs. But I remember playing theatre games, not unlike this, which, I have to say, also verge on being therapy games."
During an interview with WBFO News, Behrend pointed out how the play will provide local audiences a chance to experience the work of playwright Annie Baker, one of the emerging voices of American Theatre.
"Her voice is very specific. What I like most about her work is that she really examines how difficult it is for us as human beings to actually communicate with each other without making anyone else upset and how hard it is for all of us to get through an entire sentence at times without offending anyone," Behrend said.
"It's a great portrayal of these people It's a really great piece of live theatre. This piece wouldn't work as a film. You're really in the moment with these people."
Annie Baker's "Circle Mirror Transformation," directed by Scott Behrend and starring Robert Rutland, Lisa Vitrano, Dave Hayes, Kelsey George Mogensen and Morgan Chard, opens Friday at 710 Main Theatre.
Ticketmaster and the Shea's Box Office can offer more information.