Photo by Brian Giandelone
The Aurora Theatre's current stage production features a single cast member.
It's a one-man show that puts actor Daniel May at the center of a story that comically explores the complex relationship between a man and his father.
Sprinkled with interesting tidbits about squirrels and the rabies virus, "Circumference of a Squirrel," penned by contemporary playwright John Walch, opens the second season of the GGC Lab Series. The series is sponsored by Georgia Gwinnett College and features contemporary works intended to appeal to young adults and a new generation of theater patrons.
In "Circumference of a Squirrel," 28-year-old divorcee Chester recounts defining moments from his childhood and explores the impact those moments have had on his life and his feelings of animosity toward his dad that stem from a particularly disturbing incident involving a squirrel.
"I was initially attracted to this play by its quirky title, but I am sold on Walch's ability to draw us into this comically disturbed individual's mind and still leaving the audience with a feeling of hope," said Anthony Rodriguez, the Aurora Theatre's artistic director.
"Circumference of a Squirrel" is the first time May, who grew up in Snellville and graduated from Shiloh High School, has carried a production alone on stage.
"It's one of the things that I love about performing on stage, doing a live show, is being able to connect with the audience," he said. "I've always felt the audience is the last character of the play that we add after we come out of our rehearsal process and we add the tech elements, we add the lights, we add sound and all that sort of thing and then you have to add the audience. Just being me out there it presents me with fantastic opportunities for connecting with individual people and really telling this story."
The play is staged in the theater's Gwinnett Federal Credit Union Studio, a 90-seat space that gives audiences an up-close and intimate theatrical experience as May's character interacts with the audience, offering up mint-flavored Life Savers and speaking directly to individuals.
"The Studio is such an intimate space that Daniel will be able to directly address the audience and build a relationship with them," Rodriguez said.
"This script in particular lends itself to this, being able to take specific moments and specific thoughts to individuals and feel their response, to feel a camaraderie, if you will, or not," May added.
"Sometimes, they're like, 'I don't know what you're talking about,'" he laughed. "'I really don't want that bagel.' I never know what the response is that I'm going to get from the audience."