BANISHED? PRODUCTIONS / JUANITA ROCKWELL
“The Circle” is a private game within a public space, a time machine, a bell jar filled with sound memories. This alternative art audiowalk, the second in banished? production’s series, attempts to map out a geography of the soul by moving through ghosts and the living, truth and fabrication.
Real life and present-day urban structures flow with a semi-autobiographical narrative in “The Circle.” Audiences are led via audio devices, maps and a “tour guide” through the tilted recollections of an old woman from an imagined future, to Washington, DC’s renowned Dupont Circle, where two best friends are young and restless in 1973.
The piece was framed so that it would unfold and reveal its layers with multiple viewings. Two routes were used: one which played with dis/location and dis/placement, and one which retraced the original locations that inspired Rockwell’s script.
The July 2012 CapFringe performance demonstrated an exercise in forced site-specificity. Audience-walkers experienced tableaux and live-action games within the Carnegie Library grounds while mentally visiting places (many long gone) in Dupont Circle, (dis)located several miles away. In this urban green space that encouraged their sense of play, they were made to confront and fuse layers of alternate realities and timelines, and engage in a reimagined space/time-travel.
Audiences who returned to walk the piece in its original inspired location at Dupont Circle (launched on September 26, 2012) could further assimilate the audio narrative, and synthesize this with the individual experiences provided by each location. Planted photographs of Dupont Circle landmarks (which were also used in the July walk) could now be viewed with geographical and historical context. Following the actual footsteps from within the narrative heightened the work of time, which has changed more than buildings and streets.
Inspiration for “The Circle” came from the art and storytelling of Janet Cardiff, Antenna Theatre, FireSign Theatre and Rotozaza, who have used audio-based technologies as a vehicle to bring audiences and narrative closer than ever.