The Circle is a walking tour of an area surrounding the Fringe office. You first download an audio file onto your IPOD or other handheld electronic device. Then you get into a group and your “tour guide” tells you to press play. When you do, you are told by a pleasant voice that Banish?d productions (who is the company that created the show) is not liable for any injury you may experience on the way about the neighborhood (so don’t go on this tour thinking you will get to sue anyone).
They you hear the voice of Mary Suib start talking about how she isn’t in the right time. As the tour progresses you are treated to strange props and actors who play incidental roles in the tour. None of them ever speak. As the story progresses you start hearing two young hippie girls start talking about any number of things that don’t seem to have much relevance to the walk. They speak as though they are on the walk with you and begin describing streets and buildings that you then peer into. As they describe certain people you walk past these people and, in one case sit down and drink tea with them. By the end of the tour you realize that the young girl and the older woman are one and the same, just at different points in their timelines.
Reasons Not to See It: If you don’t like walking, don’t do this walking tour. That should be fairly easy to figure out (but I’ve worked in the service industry too long to trust people to figure anything out for themselves). Don’t go if you don’t like conflicting sensory inputs (there are several moments when you don’t know if you should listen to what’s happening around you or the audio).
Reasons To Go See This Show: If you are not a huge fan of devised theater but would like to explore it, this is a great show to see (do? experience?). You are not really accosted by anyone and can just stroll along and enjoy what’s happening without people forcing you to do something they think you should do. There is also the factor of the headphones. They create a very individual experience. You get the safety of individualized experience while you are in the safety of a group. The only real excitement is of not knowing what is part of the show. At one point we were asked by homeless people for money. I don’t think it was part of the show (but it sure felt like it for a moment). I did enjoy the show, it was quite relaxing.
I think that ultimately they were trying to give you a perspective on Time and the City in general, but I wasn’t clear on what that perspective was. And there wasn’t anything terribly compelling in any of it. I would consider this show a nice palate cleanser between other shows. Consider it Fringe sorbet.
The Circle begins and ends at 607 NY Avenue in front of the Fringe office.
For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.