The classic circus routine will be reimagined with a modern twist, as Cirque Mechanics takes over Rudder Auditorium at 7 p.m. on Tuesday to perform 42ft - A Menagerie of Mechanical Marvels.
Adapting the well-loved circus tradition for the modern age, Cirque Mechanics founder and creative director Chris Lashua said he decided to create a new show narrating the story of a man who ran away to join the circus, featuring famous circus acts like jugglers, clowns, acrobats and the strongman.
“There is nothing like live entertainment and theatre, and nothing better evokes the spirit of adventure and better demonstrates what amazing things we are all capable of than the circus,” Lashua said. “Circus blends acrobatics and dance with storytelling, narrative, and in our case, we add a mechanical component that makes this all even more unique.”
Of the moving elements in the performance, Lashua included a dynamic metal circus ring and rigging and an intricate mechanical horse named “Rosebud,” built out of the frame of an industrial tricycle in the style of a ‘kinetic sculpture’.
“We begin with a few ideas for the mechanized circus acts or devices that support circus acts,” Lashua said. “The artists are the stars, but the machinery and contraptions support the artists and allow them to execute their acts in new ways. As we believe in displaying the relationship between the artists and the machines, we honor both, and there are times when the device or the contraption takes focus for a moment, but the magic happens when there is synergy between both.”
After the performance Tuesday night, MSC OPAS Education Outreach Coordinator Shanna Wright is inviting College Station ISD and Bryan ISD 5th grade students to see a midday performance of the show on Wednesday.
“For many of these students, this is the first time they have had the opportunity to attend a live performance,” Wright said. “From coming on to the campus of a world class university to learning etiquette expectations when watching something live as opposed to on a screen, to taking note of appropriate attire for this kind of event, the kids walk away with much more than having ‘just’ seen a show.”
Director of Education Outreach and communication junior Emma Wimberly works with OPAS to host other similar events, like bringing professional storytellers or theater groups to the local elementary and middle schools, giving students a chance to see and hear things that they may not get a chance to otherwise.
“I think our Education Outreach efforts exemplify our mission to enlighten, entertain and inspire,” Wimberly said. “Getting the opportunity to present performances that impact educators, students and community members is one of the many reasons I’m proud to be a member of MSC OPAS.”
According to Lashua, the cast and crew of Cirque Mechanics is excited to be a part of OPAS’ Education Outreach program, bringing the circus to a new generation.
“Many young people may have never been to a real circus,” Lashua said. “So for those audience members, we are introducing them to a centuries-old artform that mixes more aspects of the performing arts than almost any other live performance.”
Tickets to Cirque Mechanics are free for Texas A&M students with a student ID. General admission tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for local K-12 students.