When the Circus Came to Town….

We had an exuberant and exhausting experience last week. We joined the circus! It’s a latent dream that just seems to comes to life when the circus comes to town.

The Circus Oz cast and crew hit Royce Hall last Wednesday to start setting up for their cheeky and yet utterly elaborate circus show. Several members of the mob joined us VERY early that morning to warm up local KTLA audiences for the weekend’s forthcoming antics. Entertainment reporter Allie MacKay’s slightly warped wit and natural comic timing fit right in with the group. (Seriously, I half expected them to give her a costume and rig her up for circus flight.)

The generosity of these performers was amazing. In a very short time they brought a real verve and vibrancy to our program and the communities we seek to engage. Thursday afternoon a group of performers, including company artistic director Mike Finch, musical director Carl Polk and several others met with UCLA arts students for a inspiring and free-wheeling discussion about the art of circus and Circus Oz’ uniquely collaborative creative process in developing both an exciting stage show and the truly amazing live soundtrack that goes with it.

Friday morning, 1,200 elementary-schoolchildren from across Los Angeles filed excitedly into Royce Hall for a DFS Demonstration Performance. It was quite chilly outside but the rain held and the cold didn’t stop the Circus OZ crew from getting the fun started as the kids lined up outside and worked their way into the hall.

If you joined us for the performances you well know by now just how delightfully talented these performers are and there is an underlying sense of welcome and warmth in everything they do. They dedicated each performance to the concepts of compassion and human kindness. (What kind of fruit are you by the way? Did you catch a glimpse of Godzilla in the background during intermission? Give us a shout on Twitter with the tag #capuclaoz)

Check out our Flickr gallery of Circus Oz performing in Royce Hall.

The circus is one of those things that just captures your imagination and takes hold. The obvious camaraderie of the performers and the clear trust they hold in one another is a subtle glue that runs through the comedic antics, flashy displays and truly death-defying stunts.

We asked schoolchildren across the city to tell us what they would do if they were to join the circus. We also invited audience-goers at each performance to take up a blank sheet of paper and draw us or tell us a story about their own circus dreams… and we decked out Royce Hall with the answers.

Thanks to everyone who was part of this amazing experience. Today, Royce Hall feels very empty, but we’re so pleased Circus Oz left such an indelible mark on our program, our space and in our imaginations.

See you under the big top!

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