Can a mother’s tears thaw a killer’s heart of ice? British playwright Bryony Lavery’s provocative 1998 play, “Frozen,” asks that very question. Nancy (portrayed for Raleigh Ensemble Players by Staci Sabarsky) is the anguished British mother of a missing child, 10-year-old Rhona, whom she fears has fallen victim to Ralph (Eric Morales), a now-imprisoned and seemingly remorseless pedophile and serial killer who preyed on preteens in Nancy’s neighborhood.
Angry, humane and compassionate, “Frozen” is an extraordinary play that entwines the lives of a murderer, the mother of one of his victims, and his psychologist to explore our capacity for forgiveness, remorse, and change after an act that would seem to rule them out entirely.
Unfortunately, the characters of “Circle Mirror Transformation” are merely the usual suspects: a bewildered and angry soon-to-be-ex-husband trying to regain his confidence with women, the sexy gal on the rebound from a romance turned toxic, the surly teenaged girl who wants to be a star, the outwardly cheerful acting-class teacher smiling through her tears, and her genial husband taking the class to try to heal the growing fissure between himself and his second wife.
When four lost New Englanders who enroll in Marty’s six-week-long community-center drama class begin to experiment with harmless games, hearts are quietly torn apart, and tiny wars of epic proportions are waged and won. [‘Circle Mirror Transformation’ is a] beautifully crafted diorama, a Petri dish in which we see, with hilarious detail and clarity, the antic sadness of a motley quintet.
Inspired by and based upon a series of stories and pictures drafted by Dr. Heinrich Hoffmann in 1844 as a Christmas present for his three-year-old son, “Struwwelpeter: A Haunting” offers audience members plenty of gasps and giggles as they journey through the stories and consider the implications of such tales ….