‘Circular’ is a two-hander, ably acted via Zoom by Lisa Hodsoll and Jonathan Holmes. It clocks in at a brisk one hour and 35 minutes, which is no small feat with a story that begins with Odysseus’s voyage home and ends with the war in Afghanistan.
. . . an intriguing play that . . . links us as people living now with the long-dead whose words and deeds reverberate still and are still so very relevant.
The playwright, Laura Shamas, has found a way to bring the futility of war full circle — and to remind us that the costs are high, and for what?
The play is divided into three sections giving them a happy, safe (i.e., not to be eaten) pig life. Each actor plays three parts that are really the same. Hodsoll places Circe, who in her mind is giving Odysseus’ men a respite; C, a psychiatrist who is treating an officer for PTSD; and Chelsea, an Army medical doctor/psychiatrist stationed in Afghanistan. Holmes plays Odyseuss; O, the wounded warrior; and Otis, Chelseas’s commanding officer.
There is overlap with the Odyssey running throughout in the language and flashbacks/wrap-arounds in each time period. The language is immediate, elegant, and thought-provoking.
The one section that wasn’t fully realized concerned C, the female psychiatrist overseeing the care of the officer with PTSD. It felt superfluous and wasn’t nearly as developed as the other characters.
In a time of Zoom, the director, Kate Bryer, did a magnificent job of timing. For example, when Odysseus drew his sword to place at Circe’s throat, she drew back instantly. It added to the sense of urgency and threat.
It is an intriguing play that paints pictures in the mind of the different realities — an ancient lush island in the Mediterranean Sea and the sands and sandbags and stoniness of Afghanistan. It also links us as people living now with the long-dead whose words and deeds reverberate still and are still so very relevant.
Spooky Action has one final work coming up this Sunday, June 21, at 3:00 p.m, “Transferral,” which was postponed from June 3. This is a a great opportunity to experience new works and to add one’s thoughts and feelings about the plays — what works, and what might have been unclear.
Running Time: One hour and 35 minutes with no intermission.
Advisory: Some adult language. Loud noises, as is common during a war.
“Circular” live-streamed on June 14, 2020. New Works in Action has been moved to the YouTube account for Spooky Action Theater. ‘Transferal’ will air on Sunday, June 21 at 3:00 p.m. For more information, click here.