What To Do

What To Do: Full Circle

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MICHAEL REXROAT, HOST: Full Circle, a play by Charles Mee based in Chinese legend inspired by Bretch’s Caucasian Chalk Circle, is just one of four productions students and community members have an opportunity to witness this semester. The Purple Post’s Emily Biggs reports from Portland.

EMILY BIGGS, BYLINE: We’re in a rehearsal room in the basement of the Mago Hunt performing arts building. Directly above us is the very stage where the set for the upcoming production of Full Circle is taking shape, one two-by-four at a time. The gentle cacophony of operatic sopranos, electric drills screaming and steel toes stomping fill the theoretically soundproof space. Though Full Circle doesn’t open until late February, the cast and crew of the production have been working diligently since the first week of spring semester to ensure that this is a show audience members will never forget.

NOEL OISHI: So, if it’s too little we go bigger, if it’s too much we pull it back a little bit. But, what I like about it is that he is giving us the freedom to play with things that normally in some play settings and rehearsal settings we may not have that opportunity to really play with.

BIGGS: This is Noel Oishi, a senior at UP majoring in both Music and Theatre, playing the roles of Egon Krenz and Hermann in the upcoming production of Full Circle. He’s talking about the direction of Professor Mead Hunter, who emphasizes the need to try new techniques in order to convey the story of the piece. Oishi explains that acting is no different than any other form of storytelling.

OISHI: You don’t necessarily have to depend completely on the text because we’re going to show you and we’re going to tell you in a very emotional and energetic way.

BIGGS: This production of Full Circle dares to go where most main stage productions seldom dabble. The time is 1989, the place is East Berlin after the fall of Communism, and the tone is both playful and turbulent. The plot revolves around a New York socialite named Pamela, who finds herself in an unsettling situation.

OISHI: She ends up in possession of a politicians baby, and it’s kind of the hijinks and adventures she has while she’s traveling around Germany trying to escape soldiers and rioters. It’s like “here, you take care of the baby!” And then it’s like, “no, I’m not going to take care of the baby you take care of the baby!”

BIGGS: If the engaging storyline, colorful costumes, and detailed set do not intrigue theatergoers, perhaps the underlying thought provoking themes of tolerance will appeal to this academic community.

OISHI: One thing may be firm, like a political system, but when that shatters you have to be tolerant of the changes that are coming and people need to be tolerant of the mistakes of the past. Tolerance seems to be the big thing in the play.

BIGGS: Full Circle runs in the Mago Hunt Theater Feb. 21-31 at 7:30pm with a matinee on March 1 at 2:00pm. Admission for mainstage shows is ten dollars for adults and five dollars for students and seniors, and free on the designated student preview night.

OISHI: It gives a different experience and outlook and view on how people see the world.

BIGGS: Emily Biggs, The Purple Post.

*Though Emily Biggs has no affiliation with the production of Full Circle, Ms. Biggs has been an active member of the University of Portland Theater Department since 2012 and has current relationships with both Mr. Rexroat and Mr. Oishi.  

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