IN CIRCLES by Carol Kaufman Segal
The OdysseyTheatre in Los Angeles has been featuring plays going back 50 years celebrating their 50th season! An unusual and very different production playing at the theatre now is a musical entitled In Circles adapted by composer Al Carmines from A Circular Play by Gertrude Stein.
In Circles has no plot, does not try to tell a story, but instead takes Stein’s words based on how they sound together and puts them to a musical score in the various styles of ragtime, tango, waltz, opera, barbershop quartet, jazz and other musical styles. When it premiered in New York in the ‘60’s, it was described by the Burns Mantle Yearbook as “a complete arrangement of word and song and dance effects, each one conceived as if describing its own circle, without convention, story, or subject line.”
I couldn’t describe the show any better myself (maybe not even at all). I can only tell anyone seeing the production not to try to figure out what is going on, but to enjoy the performances by the wonderful talented singers and dancers, the diverse music styles and dancing, and the wonderful staging of it all, directed by David Schweizer.
The very talented cast members include Henry Arber, Shelby Corley, Ashlee Dutson, Kenneth G. Grimes (piano player), Kyle G. Fuller, Chloe Haven, Aaron Jung, P.T. Mahoney, and Jacque Lynn Colton as Gertrude Stein. Jacque Lynn Colton was in the original 1968 off-Broadway production of In Circles.
The beautiful stage setting in all red and white by Mark Guirguis, the all white costumes by Ann Closs-Farley, the choreography by Kate Coleman, and the musical direction by Kenneth J. Grimes, the libretto by Gertrude Stein, all add up to make the production an extraordinary presentation.
In Circles is playing Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM and Sundays at 2 PM, through Nov. 10, at the Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. Tickets are available online at www.OdysseyTheatre.com, or by phone at (310) 477-2055, ext.2