Editors' pick

The Circle

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Editorial Review

Fringe review: 'The Circle'
By Maura Judkis
Saturday, July 14, 2012

In the time it takes to walk the route of “The Circle,” you could walk from the Fringe Festival to Dupont Circle, where it all takes place. But then you’d be missing the chance to challenge yourself with the Fringe show that may stretch your imagination further than any other.

Theatrical art experience “The Circle” introduces a time-traveling, teleporting old woman who takes you back to a previous version of herself: As a carefree teen in 1973, gallivanting around Dupont Circle with her best friend, giggling about music festivals, teenage crushes and marijuana, and speaking in the singsong poetry that girls invent for themselves. Although the tour is configured for Dupont, and a production of it will move there later this summer, the Fringe version takes a meandering route around the Carnegie Library.

Those who take Banished Productions’ guided tour, written by Juanita Rockwell and directed by Carmen Wong, will be e-mailed an audio file for an MP3 player the day before the show (if you don’t have one, you can borrow one). Be sure to give it a second listen -- one of the most frustrating parts of the tour is that it moves so quickly, you don’t have time to stop and savor the details and surprises along the route.

You’ll see paper cranes, painted shoes and picnics, and you’ll create art, read books and sip tea. People you encounter will make you wonder whether or not they’re a plant, though in some cases, the answer will be obvious (as it was for a man reading a biology book on the steps, who passed this reporter a note that said “You’re hot -- you got me caught :)” -- which may or may not have been an attempt to butter up a critic).

There is much to be gained and lost in moving the tour to its home in Dupont. Participants will no longer have the distraction of imagining a faraway-yet-proximate place, eras removed, but still within walking distance of the festival. But they’ll lose the chance to do their own teleporting, which may bring more reward.