Antaeus Diaries provide unique perspectives on Classical Theater from the Antaean point of view as veterans and newbies alike detail their experiences in their own voices. In this installment, Antaeus Company member Melinda Peterson shares her reasons for initiating a Monthly Pot Luck read of W. Somerset Maugham’s THE CIRCLE.
For several semesters in college I studied dramatic literature with Howard Sigmund. I adored his classes because of his ardent love of theatre. When we got to the 20th century, one of the plays in our curriculum was W. Somerset Maugham’s THE CIRCLE and I truly wish I still had all of my notes from university because I am sure that Professor Sigmund could give you many better reasons to embrace this play than I can. That lecture would surely contain elements of a well-made play, conflict of relationships, individual characters’ arcs, precision and wit of dialogue and social commentary contemporary for it’s time.
My reason for choosing THE CIRCLE is much more base – our project leaders said “Choose a piece with a role you’d like to play.” My mind rifled back to Professor Sigmund’s classes, landed on THE CIRCLE and I thought “Why, I’m old enough to play Lady Kitty now!” (Ask an actor why they love a play and it usually has something to do with a part that’s right for them.)
Although we’ve only gotten together a couple of times, we’ve all really enjoyed working on this play and feel very fortunate to have the actor-friendly and dramaturgically astute Frank Dwyer as our director.
THE CIRCLE compliments all of the Coward work we’ve just completed. Our setting is a country home in England and the year is 1921. Hope you like it.