One of Austin’s most innovative theatre companies, Exchange Artists, is now in production of Circle the Wagons, a cycle of eight five-minute playlets that take place in parked cars. Not only do the performances take place in vehicles, but the vehicles are arranged in a circle in an outdoor parking lot. Following musical cues, the audiences, limited to three per car, move to each car around the circle to receive each of the eight playlets. The actors all perform one of the playlets each, but they do so eight times per evening. Seldom has Austin seen such a concentration of innovative talent among theatre professionals, and although it may seem like the show might be tempted to exploit its own gimmickry while exhausting audiences shuttling between cars, this is certainly not the case. Rather, the playlets are fresh and diverse and provide a satisfying evening of theatre for wide audiences. The car stories were written for the show by five emerging local playwrights.
The playwriting credits for these gems go to Katherine Craft, Cleve Wiese, Sarah Saltwick, Rohan Joseph, and Gwen Copeland. The excellent actors were Bridget Farr, Bradley Silman, Rachel Wiese, Laura Artesi, Vanessa Marie, Zac Crofford, Katie Richter, Mindy Cook, Leticia Monsey, Anne Hulsman, Doug Costello, Amber Lackey Moreno and Karina Dominguez. Voiceover work was provided by Jonathan Itchon, Aaron Alexander, Alexander Freuding, Michelle Keffer, and Rachel Wiese.
Circle the Wagons plays in the parking lot of Hyde Park Christian Church on 45th Street at Duval. It runs Friday through Monday at 8 p.m. until March 3rd, 2014.