My Night In Shirley, VT

by:  Meg O'Brien at 11/11/2010

As most of my time is spent working with high school students, it’s always a great pleasure when I am able to utilize my teaching skills with a group of adults. Annie Baker’s Circle Mirror Transformationis currently playing, and I have just spent an incredible night in her world of Shirley, Vermont.

Our Marketing Department decided that it would be a nice touch, and great fun, if we offered pre-show theatre games for our patrons coming to see Annie Baker’s Circle Mirror Transformation, a play comprised mostly of these games. Knowing that it would help audience members connect to the play on a deeper level, we in Education were eager and happy to offer our services by leading the classes.

Annie Baker includes some incredible and important theatre games in her script. The Counting Game, Explosion Tag, One Word Story, and of course, Circle Mirror Transformation. We offered the pre-show class before 4 performances throughout the month of November, and I had the pleasure of teaching the one last night.

My class had ten "students," and they all gave 100% to their games. We had a semi-cohesive one word story about a girl who got bit by her dog, and try as she might she couldn’t cry, so instead, she waded through a pond. Explosion tag had us running full speed away from each other — and laughing the entire time.

I also had the pleasure of leading last night’s post-show discussion, and a few of my "students" stayed and shared how the experience deepened their connection to the world of the play. All patrons who stayed to chat with me were expressed their complete awe of Annie Baker and her incredible talent. Many of them have already seen her other plays (Body Awareness, presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company, and The Aliens, presented by Company One). Others were eager to purchase tickets to complete their Shirley, VT experience.

We are so glad the games were a success, and are always working to provide tools and resources to deepen our audience’s connection with the world of the play. That is what we strive to do on a daily basis in our education department — and throughout the company — and it’s always a rewarding experience when it succeeds. Thank you for being such great participants, and I look forward to the opportunity to play again soon!

If you haven’t spent anytime in Annie Baker’s Shirley, VT, please do. It is truly a unique experience, and a joy to explore. For more information please visit or

Which theatre games in Circle Mirror Transformation look like the most fun to you?

What other tools could the Huntington provide to help you complete your experience with our work?


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