One of the saddest days of my NYC
life was when I walked past the home of the Off-Broadway headquarters of Circle
only to find a restaurant had taken over the theater’s premises on Seventh
Avenue South. It was proof positive
that the landmark institution’s financial woes were insurmountable; I mourned
their demise, home to playwrights Lanford Wilson, John Bishop, Jules Feiffer
and Milan Stitt, and an acting company that included William Hurt, Jonathan
Hogan, Trish Hawkins and Conchata Ferrell.

For those who remember, and want to
relive those glorious times, head over to the West Village’s Judson Church
where The Great Nebula in Orion holds forth until next
weekend. This is a chamber opera
version of Lanford Wilson’s 1971 one-act about a chance Manhattan meeting between
two old college chums. If anything,
Kenneth Fuchs poignant score only enhances Wilson’s tale of disillusioned
regret; the direction (by Wallace Norman) and especially, the performances by
Watson Heintz and Lynelle Johnson, make you feel the humor and pathos
acutely. A small-scale knockout—pounce