Saturday night’s performance of “42 ft. - A Menagerie of Mechanical Marvels” by Cirque Mechanics, brought the energy of the big top to Shippensburg University’s H. Ric Luhrs Performing Arts Center. The ensemble that came to life in 2004 showcased its ability to entertain like no other.
Inspired by the idea of modernizing a traditional circus experience, Cirque Mechanics creates a unique blend of performance and storytelling that left attendees on the edge of their seats.
The Luhrs Center’s stage was transformed into the big top for one night and one night only. The set consisted of heavy-duty equipment or mechanical marvels which were designed to safely support performers as they did traditional circus stunts and shenanigans for the crowd. From mid-air acrobatics to tightrope walkers and jugglers, the ensemble amazed with each act.
The show itself followed the journey of an ordinary man who quickly became captivated by the marvels of a visiting circus that goes by the name of Circus Magnificus. After following an array of flyers advertising some of the show’s top acts, he finds himself peeking through the tent’s flaps to catch a glimpse of the performance.
Bombarded by the mass amount of performers adorned in extravagantly colorful outfits crammed into the big top, the story’s protagonist stood in amazement after each act took its turn in the spotlight.
Left in complete awe of the circus and its death-defying acts, the man spends a majority of the show honing his skills until he is discovered by members of the circus and welcomed into the Circus Magnificus family.
It almost felt as if the audience was accompanying him on his journey. One could not help but root for the outsider after each failed attempt to find where he belonged within the ensemble.
Although he was technically not part of the show just yet, the performer did a phenomenal job portraying his excitement without even having to speak.
One of the funniest parts of the skit was when Circus Magnificus first allowed him to help.
Since he did not discover his special talent just yet, he started out by putting up signs for the show all around town. In the beginning of the show, the audience is shown how effortlessly posters were hung up for the show’s previous performance, but when the circus’s newest assistant stepped up to bat, hilarity ensues.
At one point in his attempt to keep the flyers from falling, he is holding up two of them with his hands and the last one with his foot, just hoping for the glue to dry faster.
After several attempts, he finally gets all of the posters to stay put, but upon leaving the stage, all of the posters slowly slip off of the fence and onto the ground where no one will see them.
I think that I speak for the whole audience when I say that I was filled with memories of my childhood during the performance.
I vividly remember my family taking me to see the circus when I was younger, and after viewing the show put on by Cirque Mechanics, I was filled with a sense of childhood nostalgia that I had not felt in years.