Thursday, November 21, 2013

Acrobats, Jugglers, and Magicians, oh My! Circo Comedia comes to WCP in December

by Angela Marroy Boerger, Director of Education & Community Programs

What do you get when you combine two performers in the style of the Quebec circus: one, an expert juggler, trick cyclist, acrobat and magician; and the other, a burlesque clown who loves to roller skate and play the drums, but who makes a somewhat clumsy assistant? The answer is Circo Comedia, an outrageously funny original show, featuring acrobatic tricks, daring feats, magic and eccentricity.

Jean Saucier and Patrick Côté will bring their chaotic vaudevillian act to Westport on December 15th as the second performance of our winter Family Festivities Series. And as any aficionado of the big top can tell you, their particular brand of humor brings circus entertainment to a whole new, hilarious level.

Believe it or not, the notion of circus entertainment – and the word itself – has been around at least since the days of ancient Rome, when it referred to the large-scale buildings which housed chariot races, performances with horses and gladiator battles, as well as acts with trained animals, all performed in front of large audiences made up of the Roman populace and members of state. (In fact, the Roman poet Juvenal took it as a sure sign that the Empire was going downhill when all it took to keep the population under control was a bit of free food and large-scale circus entertainment. He coined the phrase “bread and circuses,” or in Latin, panem et circenses, which is now used as a shorthand to describe a group of people who are easily distracted from involvement in politics or deeper matters by frivolous pursuits.)

The style of the modern circus is a much more recent development. Nowadays when we talk about the circus, we usually mean a group of variety performances by clowns, balancing experts and acrobats, as well as zoological experts, sometimes led by a ringleader and all performed under a big top tent. This format began to develop in the late eighteenth century but was certainly fully developed by the age of the great nineteenth century circus companies: P. T. Barnum's Museum, Menagerie & Circus; the circus of James Antony Bailey; and the Ringling Brothers Circus. 

In more recent years, the circus format has been experienced a revitalization with influences from across popular culture and other performance arts from across the globe. Circus can be performed anywhere, from an indoor theater to the street walk, and its scale ranges from single performers to enormous companies of a hundred or more. 

Circo Comedia comes from this newer strain of circus performance, and combines daredevil stunts and acts with Laurel and Hardy-style antics. You can get a sneak peek of their show here. We hope you’ll join us for this unforgettable performance. Just be forewarned that afterwards, your children might inform you that they’d like to run away and join the circus!

No comments: