by Kate McEvoy
Circus! What a piece with which to strike the first note of the festival. Go see it! The University Theater transformed by something like may pole streamers flowing from the ceiling to suggest a traveling tent. A ring painted with images that suggest those of a child’s nursery in yesteryear. Counterpoint clowns who subtly draw children in by tossing out a ball to be batted back and forth. A quietly hilarious scene in which a lion tamer’s charge, who is clad in a ruff and saggy pants long-johns, rebels against jumping through a hoop and quits in a huff. Subtle, progressive acrobatics: the reluctant replacement lion becomes a tumbler and walks smoothly across the shoulders of the two male clowns as they scoot around one another. Mesmerizing bits with iridescent hoola hoops. Best of all, an astonishingly elastic and no doubt hugely physically taxing trapeze duet. An evolving series of beautifully tender postures; the man supporting the woman with only his foot beneath the nape of her neck, the woman curling up and past him along the rope, both prone with only the bar beneath them. Small, precious images: feathers spinning down from above. Circus is so not the usual convention of madcap pace and enormous ta-da moments. Instead, it is quiet feats of strength and bravado, unexpected pathos, a reflectively paced narrative line and moments that will surely make you sigh in awe.