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Centenary student directs play at Central Art Station in Shreveport

Caroline Dopson

SHREVEPORT, LA — Centenary junior theatre major Caroline Dopson makes her community directing debut later this month with Circle Mirror Transformation at downtown Shreveport’s Central Art Station. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. on April 26 and 27 and 2:00 p.m. on April 28 and 29. Admission is free.

Circle Mirror Transformation, written by Annie Baker, follows an unlikely group of strangers who enroll in a six-week drama class at a community center in a small town in Vermont. As the class progresses, the participants – who include a recently divorced carpenter, a high school junior, a former actress, and the husband of Marty, the instructor – use theatre exercises demonstrated by Marty to learn more about themselves and their fellow classmates. These exercises inevitably produce real-life drama, and the audience watches the characters grow and change in a process that Dopson describes as “beautiful and heartbreaking.”

Dopson was drawn to the play because of its uniqueness and its resonance with her own experiences in the theatre world.

“I have taken a lot of theatre classes outside of Centenary where I was learning with classmates who were very different from me in their personalities and in their age,” says Dopson. “There is so much about this play that I can identify with and I think that the audience also identifies with each character in a different way, which is what makes this play so special. Circle Mirror Transformation is different from any play I have ever seen, and it is seemingly simple until you realize how much the script is unpacking.”

Even as a first-time director, Dopson had some clear ideas about how to approach the project, especially the casting. Although many college productions of Circle Mirror Transformation feature casts composed entirely of students, Dopson held auditions that were open to both Centenary students and community actors, hoping to assemble a cast that was as true to the age of the characters as possible. She succeeded, casting community actors Jodie Glorioso, Bill Pou, Amanda-Marie Davis, and Emily Danae Buckner alongside Centenary student Anthony Castillo.

“I do not think I could have picked a better cast and crew for my first time directing,” says Dopson. “Everyone is so insightful and wonderful to work with. What I like the most about my cast is that they can identify with their own characters as well as each other’s characters. They always have questions and are constantly discovering new things about their characters.”

Dopson is directing Circle Mirror Transformation as part of the directing course in Centenary’s Department of Theatre. She will graduate one year early this spring and begin an MFA program in acting at Florida Atlantic University in the fall.

 

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