Looking Back: End of Year Showcase
Hello friends! How is it mid-August already? It's crazy how fast the summer's gone by. I meant to write a post right after the final show, once I got settled from moving from Philly to Ithaca. But I blinked and a month went by and I started writing this post, and then I blinked again and it was August. So here we are, exactly 3 weeks away from the start of the second year of Circadium. There hasn’t been too much going on over the summer, but I wanted to tell you about the Circadium Year 1 Showcase!
Rewind to the end of May - the 9 of us are exhausted and over-stressed, working to finalize show. We took Saturday off that weekend, but came in the Sunday to keep rehearsing. On Monday, we finally got into the performance space, a historic former pumping station near the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. We had about an hour in the theatre, during which we were able to talk to the staff and gauge the space we had to work with. We had brought along equipment and apparatuses for the few acts that were more space-reliant (tumbling, trapeze, and cyr wheel), and those acts had time on the stage, testing the space in the wings, the rigging height, and the floor. There wasn’t time for a full run through, but we were able to get a sense of the space we were going to be in, which helped guide adjustments for our final run-through that afternoon back at Circadium.
The next morning, we loaded up all of our equipment and props into various staff vans and cars, and headed to the theatre for the day. It was a long day of load-in, tech, que-to-que, show, load out, and afterparty, but definitely a whirlwind of an end of year experience. Overall, the final showcase went incredibly well. We had a great turnout, an energetic audience, minimal technical hiccups, and many of us felt it was the best run through of our pieces.
While I've been in many shows in the past (mostly theatre and a few circus), this is the first show of this kind I've created. The nine of us worked as an ensemble to create and audition acts, devise an order that flowed and didn't have people in too many back-to-back acts, design transitions that added to the show, coordinate costumes, and so many other nitty gritty details often left to directors or other guiding staff. It definitely wasn't the most polished show of all times, but it was a learning experience, which is what a first year of school is supposed to be about.
One of the terrifying but incredibly satisfying experiences for me was that I was one of the few students who performed something completely new to them. I began learning cyr wheel during the first year of Circadium, and my schedule incorporated it regularly only in the last trimester of classes. Most of my cyr training was actually self taught, as we only had a cyr coach for a total of 6 days. Despite this limitation, I was set on doing cyr in the final show. My classmate Chauncey and I decided to do a duo cyr act, which we had even less experience with than solo cyr. Surprisingly, this ended up being a benefit in disguise. As we lacked the knowledge and experience most duo cyr performers have, we ended up coming up with a variety of different (albeit easier) duo moves we could master in less than 2 months. This meant that though we didn't have the typical two-artists-in-one-wheel moves, we explored using two wheels simultaneously, which is much less commonly done. (That being said, Cirque Du Solei's Luzia has an incredible trio act with two cyr wheels and a dance trapeze, which I've linked a youtube video of here).
I was really proud of the work and creativity that went into our act, and many other acts. The theatre was full of audience members who seemed to love the show, though whether it was because they were family and friends I will never know. For those of you who came out to support us, a belated thank you so very much! And for those who weren't able to treck all the way to Philly for a Tuesday night show, fear not! Circadium recorded a video of the whole show (click here to watch it on facebook).
That's all for the end-of-year-show summary. I've been working on some other things this summer, both personal training and blog-related, which I'll cover in another post before school starts in September!
Photo Credit: Steve Sarafian