Ladies, gentlemen and children of all ages flocked to the Jorgensen Sunday afternoon for an exciting circus that mixed classic acts with modern machinations. Cirque Mechanics’ “42 FT: A Menagerie of Mechanical Marvels” wowed the crowd with acrobats, jugglers and everything else that the circus brings to town.
The circus company pulled out all the stops to entertain its audience. Some of the most entertaining performances were by the company’s acrobats, who used the trapeze, a revolving ladder and a Russian swing.
When asked what her favorite part of the show was, Dayle Kimball, a Coventry resident, said “I would say the tumbling, the acrobats.”
Strongman Tulga also got rounds of applause from the audience. He juggled bowling balls, lifted and balanced telephone poles in his hands and even supported a spinning beam that held a swinging acrobat at each end.
No circus is complete without juggling, and Rosebud certainly delivered. She juggled several balls at once while going around the circus ring on a mechanical horse operated by the ringmaster. Rosebud juggled while bending backwards and while standing on one leg.
Towards the end of the show, slackwire performer Esther de Monteflores took the stage. Monteflores performed a number of tricks, flipping around the rope and even doing a spilt on it.
“I thought it was wonderful,” Sean Fitzgerald, a Hebron resident who attended the show with his family, said. “It was a very pleasant surprise, wasn’t sure what to expect, but enjoyed every minute of it.”
“42 FT” was notable not only for its fearless feats but for its simultaneous storytelling. In between circus acts, the audience was treated to the story of Justin the clown, a wanderer who becomes enthralled with the circus when he passes by the big top. The show opens on Justin as he peers into the back of the circus tent and continues to tell his story as he gets a job pasting circus posters to city walls, learns the art of sword swallowing and is eventually adopted into the circus family.
Instead of simply performing to an audience, Cirque Mechanics actually involved the audience in their performance at times. During the first act, Justin ventures into the audience searching for a willing participant in his clowning. Justin selected a man from the front section and brought him onstage, where he dressed him in a circus vest and taught the man to copy his actions. Justin provided the man with a short bar, and the two acted like they were swinging back and forth on the trapeze. At one point, the two met in the middle and Justin pretended to pickpocket the man, which elicited laughs from the audience.
The name of the show — “42FT” — comes from the diameter of the circus ring. The ring has been this size for 250 years, and with their show, Cirque Mechanics hoped to show how current circuses can still follow tradition while making room for some modern innovations.
For example, the use of animals in circuses is now widely disapproved of. While “42 FT” did not include any live animals in its performance, Cirque Mechanics incorporated some nods to circus animals. Rosebud rides on a mechanical horse, for instance, and in the lion tamer’s performance, the audience could hear the roar of a lion and the crack of the trainer’s whip.
The show concluded with Justin’s joining the circus and final bows for each talented performer.
“It was all good, but the ending was like — they really blew it out of the water,” Kelly Caisse, a Chaplin, Connecticut resident, said.
Photos by Avery Bikerman / The Daily Campus
Stephanie Santillo is a senior staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at email@example.com.