Amy Corcoran completes the circle

by Jenny Block

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Friday October 29, 2010

Watertower Theatre in Addison, TX is currently mounting a production of Annie Baker's Circle Mirror Transformation, opening November 4, 2010 in their studio theatre. Amy Corcoran, a director as well as choreographer, will be directing this show, which promises to be equally funny and poignant.

Before she started directing, Corcoran was a choreographer, and, before that, an actor, singer, and dancer. "I have been involved in theatre since I was about 7," she explains.

Corcoran recently completed her MFA in Directing at Penn State University. She studied under Tony Award-nominated director Susan H. Schulman. Corcoran was honored as the 2009 SDC Noel Coward Fellow for Comedic Direction, allowing her to work on a production of Private Lives.

In terms of directing, some of her favorite credits are two productions of Smokey Joe's Café, The Little Dog Laughed, Rabbit Hole, In Trousers, and All Night Strut. In the realm of choreography, credits making her favorites list are Crazy For You, Company, and Thank You for Being a Friend: The Unauthorized Golden Girls Parody Musical, an off-Broadway hit this past summer.

Edge had the chance to catch up with Corcoran last week to find out more about Watertower's upcoming production.

EDGE: What is the setting and plot of Circle Mirror Transformation? Can you tell readers a little about the characters as well?

Corcoran The setting is current day, in an adult drama class in Shirley, Vermont. The five characters vary in ages (16-60), and all come to the class for their own reasons. They are a fascinating and heart-breaking group.

EDGE: How do you approach a piece like this in terms of research?

Corcoran For research on a modern play like this, I make sure I know all the references, of course, but also make sure I understand the journey the characters are on and the things that matter to them. I used to live in New England, so absolutely know what Shirley, Vermont means as a setting. For this one, I went into all my past drama class memories to remember all the games!

EDGE: What is it that makes "Circle Mirror Transformation" a show that you wanted to direct?

Amy Corcoran: The script is incredibly well-written. The play was one I wanted to work on because the characters are so beautifully real. Annie Baker understands the human spirit like very few other playwrights writing today. I also knew it would be an incredible challenge, which I always welcome. I love learning more about people (and, in turn, myself).

EDGE: What's the biggest challenge you face in terms of directing this particular show?

Corcoran I think the pauses and silences that are playwright-dictated are the most challenging. Even in the silences, there is so much that needs to live there and all of that just happens to be non-verbal. The cast and I have had a lot of fun working through that.

EDGE: What's the best part about directing this show?

Corcoran I have a very alive, willing cast, a fabulous script, and an amazing boss. It's all great.

EDGE: Any crazy anecdotes from the rehearsal period that you can share?

Corcoran Mostly anything that involves Ted Wold. But then he'd kill me [if I told you].

EDGE: Can you even believe this is what you get to do for a living?

Corcoran I must have done something pretty amazing in a past life to be able to tell stories for a job.

EDGE: Who should come to see this show?

Corcoran Anyone who has ever started a new activity in order to learn more about themselves. Anyone who is going through or anyone who has been through a life-altering event. Anyone at a crossroads. Anyone hitting a landmark age. Everyone.

EDGE: Anything else you want to say to potential audience members reading this?

Corcoran Thank you for your valuable time and entertainment dollars. We cannot wait to share this story with an audience.

Circle Mirror Transformation plays November 4 - 21, 2010 in the WaterTower Studio Theatre, 15650 Addison Road, Dallas, TX. For more information visit WaterTower Theatre website.

Jenny Block is a Dallas based freelance writer and the author of "Open: Love, Sex, and Life in an Open Marriage" (Seal Press, June 2008). Block's work has appeared in Cosmopolitan (Germany), USA Today, American Way, BeE, bRILLIANT, the Dallas Morning News, D, Pointe, and Virginia Living, as well as on huffingtonpost.com, yourtango.com, and ellegirl.com. You can also find her work in the books "It's a Girl" (Seal Press, March 2006, ed. Andrea J. Buchanan) and "One Big Happy Family" (Riverhead Press, February 2009, Rebecca Walker, ed.).

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