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Cirque Mechanics will perform its latest show, '42FT', in MemAud on Wednesday. (Provided via Maike Schulz)

Cirque Mechanics to showcase evolution of circus shows

Cirque Mechanics is calling all fans of heights, acrobats and theater to step right up and enjoy their latest show, 42FT.

Cirque Mechanics is a circus troupe that puts on shows around the country, and they’re bringing the circus to Ohio University’s campus Wednesday. 

42FT focuses on the evolving art of circus shows. The show features galloping mechanical horses and a rotating tent frame for strongmen, acrobats and aerialists. Cirque Mechanics is inspired by the modern circus, but has its roots in the mechanical nature and tells a tale of American industrial ingenuity.

The show also features a number of acts from other shows, including Birdhouse Factory, Boomtown and Pedal Punk, with one overarching storyline that brings all of the skits together.

Andrew Holzaepfel, senior associate director for student activities, had worked with Cirque Mechanics before and was excited to bring them back once he heard they had announced a new show. 

“They’re amazing, one of the best cirque troupes, and it’ll be a super fun and unique performance that everyone can enjoy,” Holzaepfel said. 

Cirque Mechanics previously brought their production Birdhouse Factory to OU, and though Cirque Mechanics is similar to other cirque groups, it brings its shows together through a continuing storyline that Holzaepfel thinks separates Cirque Mechanics from other troupes. 

“What I love about Cirque Mechanics is there’s kind of a beautiful storyline that weaves its way throughout the whole show,” Holzaepfel said. “As opposed to just watching skit after skit, it’s cool to see all of the acts tied together in a way.”

Holzaepfel and the student activities team have also organized a day for local kids from school districts in the region to come and see the show before the public performance. They try to involve younger local students once or twice a year through the arts and education initiative by bussing the students to campus to interact with the show. 

“It’s amazing to have the opportunity to offer this to younger kids,” Holzaepfel said. “We reach out to the schools and invite them, and it’s great to see how much fun the kids have at these shows.” 

Performance and choreography students are interested to see how 42FT will compare to other shows through the heavy use of mechanics.

Emily Vizina, a senior studying dance performance and choreography, is always impressed by the physicality of the performers and is excited to see how it correlates with the machines.

“I think this show is so cool because of the comparison to what I know of other cirque shows and the physical feats the performers are able to manage,” Vizina said. “To see it in contrast with machines and comparing the dynamic of the two side by side is very powerful.”

Alyssa Embry, a sophomore studying props/production design and technology, is impressed by the complexity of the vision and the evolution of the circus. 

“I think the circus has a bad reputation, when in reality they're doing and creating things we're too scared to do just for our entertainment,” Embry said. “The evolution of the circus is truly stunning. They use stage space like no other art form, and a lot of that is due to their creativity in their stage mechanics and the world that has opened up for their performers.”


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