The Circle at A.C.T.

Dave and I saw a preview performance of Somerset Maugham’s The Circle at American Conservatory Theater last Friday. It’s a favorite play of mine, though one that I’ve only seen one production of before this one; however, that production was a memorable one, with Geraldine Page as Kitty in a tiny off-Broadway theater (back when I was living in New York City in the late 1980s). Dave had never seen or read the play before, but he loved the production on Friday, too, so we’re going to go back and see it again later in the run.

We went without knowing who was going to be in it, but we were pleasantly surprised that Ken Ruta is playing Lord Porteous, and the likeable young man playing Teddy is Craig W. Marker, who we saw four or five months ago playing Figaro in a wonderful and hilarious production of The Marriage of Figaro (which we had also liked enough to go back and see a second time). Lady Kitty is a very funny and touching Kathleen Widdoes, whose only real failing is that she is forced to complete with Geraldine Page in my memory, or at least with the idealization of Geraldine Page that is what’s left of my memory after 20 years or so.

I’m a little annoyed by the ACT advertisements and PR material, though, which keep referring to The Circle as a “satire”. The play pokes some fun at the upper classes here and there, certainly, but to see the play as predominantly a satire seems to me to be missing the point in a very big way.

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