Meredith Young plays Lauren in Curious Theatre Company’s Circle Mirror Transformation, which opens tonight, Jan 22. Circle Mirror Transformation, by Annie Baker, tells the story of a community drama class and the students who are changed by it. Young plays Lauren, the youngest student in the class, and perhaps the most cynical about the unique exercises, when the course begins. We got a chance to ask Lauren a few questions about her experience in Circle Mirror Transformation and her thoughts on the Denver theatre scene (as a relative newcomer).
WE ASKED: Are you new to Denver? What has your experience been in the theatre community so far?
Yes — I am a fairly recent Denver transplant; the opening of Circle Mirror Transformation not only marks my Denver theatre debut, but also the one year anniversary of my Denver move. I grew up in California, but went to the University of Colorado for my undergrad. I graduated in 2001 and moved back to California, then to New York, then circled back to California, where I jaunted betwixt LA and the OC (in my youth I seem to have been a smidgeon geographically fickle) . Last January, with absolute ardency, I finally migrated back to Colorado — home, SWEET HOME!!
Being that I was an “infant” coming into the Denver theatre community, I was royally nervous as to how I would be received. I felt very green and raw, almost as if I was a wee college grad again, wide-eyed and gawky, just soaking up the wide world of professional theatre. Yet, the collective tone has been wonderfully warm, welcoming, and amiably accepting. I’ve left a number of auditions with new friends (viva la Facebook) and established new connections.
WE ASKED: Do you remember the first drama/theatre class you ever took? Did you love it right away, or did you find some of the exercises silly, embarrassing, stupid?
I DO remember our very first theatre game — it was a slow motion fall to ballad-y piano music to the count of 10 (theatre games are all about the counting …) We then had to repeat this process and rise back up. Being the overzealous, overeager anxious, validation-craving-kid that I was, I completely bypassed the purpose of the exercise to attain more physical control and honed my focus on getting my hand up in the air first to demonstrate my mad falling skillz. It took me a few times to get noticed, but I thoroughly perfected the art of attempting to show off (OY!!) …
WE ASKED: Did you connect immediately with the character of Lauren?
Although I am exactly twice Lauren’s age, I did immediately connect with Lauren on many levels. Lauren might front a tougher exterior, but I too am incessantly stubborn and we share an innate awkwardness. Although, she often doesn’t have a filter, I admire her candid assertiveness. She speaks her mind and tells it likes it is. I’m such a softee; perhaps I should work on channeling Lauren’s teen angst to buff up my audacious skills. And I did do West Side Story in my high school years, but I played a Jet girl and a Shark boy (funny anecdote for another time of my newly acquired failed attempted at stage combat).
WE ASKED: All of the cast members of Circle Mirror are new to the Curious stage. Did that help achieve the feeling that you were all strangers working together for the first time?
It did. And we have become such an amazing, tight-knit family through the process that we get excited each night to go onstage and as Barbra (Theresa) says, “meet each other again for the first time!” I am eminently grateful for the opportunity to be working with such INCREDIBLY TALENTED actors in Circle Mirror Transformation. I have learned an immense amount from each individual in doing scene work.
WE ASKED: How was the rehearsal process for this show different from other shows, considering the material? Did you play with each other playing games to start?
The rehearsal process has been different, as we deconstructed the show in order to do scene work. However, the show has 30 scenes … A LOT. Translating that scene lineage to muscle memory when it came time for run-throughs was a challenge. Erica (Marty) taught us some phenomenal exercises that she learned at American Mime Theatre our second week into the rehearsal process, focusing on our centers as neutral and pulling emotion from there. We each picked an emotion and tried it on our own— in front of the others. This rendered particularly poignant for all of us and I think we all felt as if we were in Marty’s class, experiencing a Marty exercise for the first time. It was truly powerful and really resonated to me that exposed feeling that Lauren, James, Schultz, Marty, and Theresa all feel.