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Mirrorbox leads audiences to consider their own friendships more deeply in ‘Cycle Play’


Mirrorbox Theatre Presents: Cycle Play

Through Feb. 27 -- TCR's Grandon Theatre, Cedar Rapids, $20


Rachel Korach Howell as Georgia (L) and Claire Boston as Heather in Mirrorbox Theatre’s production of Megan Tabaque’s ‘Cycle Play.’ — Greg Billman / Mirrorbox

The quote “Art disturbs the comfortable and comforts the disturbed” has been attributed to various people in a variety of situations, but it is nowhere more applicable than to Cycle Play, currently running in the downstairs Grandon Theatre space at Theatre Cedar Rapids. Mirrorbox Theatre invites the audience into this two woman show, directed by Carrie Pozdol with assistance from Lauren Galliart, in which playwright Megan Tabaque takes a hard look at women’s friendships and the demands of thereof.

Chantelle Mobberley has designed a set that’s part spinning studio, part locker room, where Heather (Claire Boston) and Georgia (Rachel Korach Howell) meet. Each woman comes to the gym with bags of issues and trauma. Georgia is the spinning enthusiast who coaxes Heather to try the class, even paying for her to continue taking classes. As their friendship develops, blossoms, explodes and then dies, the audience learns each woman’s background and hopes for the future.

Claire Boston as Heather in Mirrorbox Theatre’s production of Megan Tabaque’s ‘Cycle Play.’ — Greg Billman / Mirrorbox

Boston is excellent in the role of Heather, a timid divorcee when we first meet her. As the play evolves, Boston undergoes a transformation. Howell, in equal measure, begins the play as a spirited woman who experiences her own transformation as well. Both actors portray their characters’ serious changes clearly, one might say even frighteningly. Theirs is the kind of friendship that cycles fast and furiously.

As part and parcel of watching this friendship, questions are asked on stage, but also arise among audience members. How do women make friends as adults? How do women see each other? Judge each other? Are our truths too much for others? Perhaps even too much for ourselves? The levels of love, rage and fear in female relationships are explored disturbingly well by Boston and Howell.

The costumes (Karlē Meyers), the sound design (Bri Atwood) and the lighting design (Jim Vogt) took me straight back to the days of my 5 a.m. spin classes. Lest you think this is a play about women and exercising, I’ll let you in on a secret: the fight choreographer for this play is Kehry Anson Lane. Yes, there’s so much more to Cycle Play than a simple locker room friendship.

Rachel Korach Howell (L) and Claire Boston in Mirrorbox Theatre’s production of Megan Tabaque’s ‘Cycle Play.’ — Greg Billman / Mirrorbox

By the end of the show, you will find that Mirrorbox Theatre has again delivered on their mission to produce “dramatic reflections on contemporary culture.” Oh, and you’ll have a lot to talk about with your theater-going friends after the show and plenty to ponder as you consider the nature of your own friendships.

Cycle Play runs through Feb. 27 at 7:30 p.m. Thursday – Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $20.