RESEARCH | REALIZATION

RESEARCH: The geometry of circles
REALIZATION:  The character names of Satima, Sagitta, and Diametra from ARTBARN’s 2015 production of The Circle 

“What’s in a name?” -Juliette

A shape that has been known since the beginning of recorded history inspired three of the character names in ARTBARN’s production of The Circle: A Guidebook to Peace, Happiness and Truth Through Personal Geometry. The piece, which also took inspiration from Yeats’ prophetic poem, The Second Coming, centered around a community obsessed with circular geometry whose “center cannot hold”.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Scholars in geometry, astronomy, and calculus have long studied the circle, believing that it held something intrinsically “divine” or “perfect”. Three characters from The Circle were Sagitta, Diametra, and Satima, all three inspired by geometric aspects of a circle. A segment (Sagitta) is a region, not counting the center, bounded by a chord and an arc lying between the chord’s endpoints. The diameter (Diametra) is the measurement from one point to another point of a circle, crossing through the center point of the circle. A sector (Satima) is a region bounded by two radii and an arc lying between the radii. Didn’t think you would be getting a lesson on geometry today, did you?