On Stage

A Length of Rope

Of choices and changes

Attend

What: "A Length of Rope"

Where: Cirque Lab, 1401 6th St.

More:

WHEN: 8pm Sat., April 8 and 6pm Sun., April 9

Cost: Entry is by donation

Info: http://www.alengthofrope.com

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Bellingham has a boomerang effect. Many people move away from the city of 80,000-plus on a regular basis, but after spinning around the earth’s axis for a spell of time, they eventually come back around.

Although she’s not here to stay, circus artist Ariel Schmidtke is looking forward to her return to the city by the bay after a four-year absence from local stages. And in lieu of a boomerang, she’ll be bringing other tools of her trade—a rope and a trapeze—to share with audiences at “A Length of Rope” performances April 8-9 at the Bellingham Circus Guild’s Cirque Lab.

Using acrobatics and shadow puppetry, the one-woman show explores significant choices every human comes to during the course of their lifetime. The rope and trapeze suspended on opposing sides of the stage represent the struggle of choosing between different directions, whether that pertains to a choice of place, identity, friendship or love.

As someone who’s upended her life many times in the name of pursuing her creative passions—whether it was studying with the Dream Science Circus at the age of 18, touring the country with the New Old Time Chautauqua, or exploring the origins of Nouveau Cirque in Paris—Schmidtke says “A Length of Rope” came about when she realized she needed to move on from a three-year teaching assistant job in Wilmington, North Carolina.

“Though I loved teaching, the public school system wasn’t working for me,” Schmidtke says. “I found I could connect with my students best when working in informal educational situations. I also had to make a decision about choosing between a sedentary career life, and a more transient artistic life. This show came from many of the doubts I felt while working through those decisions.”

Although it was her own life choices that spurred “A Length of Rope”—which she honed living in Alaska for the past nine months and studying at creative nonprofit Anchorage Community Works—Schmidtke hopes audiences will connect to the work in their own way.

“This show is also all about making emotional connections,” she says. “I leave the narrative open to interpretation. Though there is an obvious struggle taking place, I allow the audience to make their own decisions as to what that struggle may be. In that way it makes the show not only cathartic for myself, but for the audience as well. We work through those struggles together, and I hope that by the end of the show many audience members will feel a sense of resolution.”

Prior to her solo feat of emotional and physical endurance,  Schmidtke’s former Capistrano Circus members Strangely and Esther de Monteflores will each be performing their own original pieces. Expect accordion prowess and witty banter from the former, and multimedia slackwire exploration from the latter.

“I have always been in awe of the work Esther creates, and we have a similar aesthetic view,” Schmidtke says. “I like working with Strangely because he fills in a lot of the performance skills I lack. He is great at interacting with the audience and improvising. Aside from that, the members of this troupe are not just artistic colleagues, they are great friends as well.”

Silver Reef House
More On Stage...
Dance-Off
Of rabbit holes, swans and rubies

Every year, renowned actors, dancers, musicians, acrobats and other performers from around the globe make tour stops at the Mount Baker Theatre to share their talents as visiting artists, or as part of the space’s seasonal lineup. But a glance at MBT’s June’s roster—which features a…

more »
Matilda
Thirty years and counting

The logistics involved in bringing to life all of the 16 performances of Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth’s renditions of Matilda the Musical are mind-boggling.

To start with, the play boasts four casts and runs for as many weekends, meaning theatergoers who attended opening night on…

more »
High Times
Up in the air

In March, when aerialist PJ Perry saw Teatro Zinzanni cast member Rachel Nehmer’s solo piece relating to the difficult birth of her second child, it moved her to tears.

Other than on opening night, those in attendance at the seventh annual Aerial Showcase performances taking place May…

more »
Events
Today
Upper Skagit Library Photo Contest

12:00pm

Ski to Sea Book Sale

10:00am|Bellingham Public Library

Parkinson's Dance Class

11:00am|Ballet Bellingham

Meet a Truck

1:00pm|Bellingham City Hall

English Country Dancing

1:30pm|Bellingham Senior Activity Center

SeaFeast Kickoff

5:00pm|Boundary Bay Brewery

Spring Fling with Skagit Women in Business

5:30pm|Grand Willow Inn

Hidden Forest Foray

6:00pm|Sehome Arboretum

Off-Leash Books

6:00pm|Mount Vernon City Library

Spring Soups for the Body and Soul

6:30pm|Community Food Co-op

Life Between the Pages Dinner Book Club

6:30pm|Evolve Chocolate + Cafe

Birds of the West

7:00pm

Balkan Folk Dancers

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Birds of the West

7:00pm|Village Books

Play Readings with Dragon Tales Productions

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

House Concert with Wandering Seas

7:30pm

Good, Bad, Ugly

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

Village Books
Tomorrow
Upper Skagit Library Photo Contest

12:00pm

Ski to Sea Book Sale

10:00am|Bellingham Public Library

Play Readings with Dragon Tales Productions

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Wild Things

9:30am|Cornwall Park

Plover Ferry Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

Peace Vigil

4:00pm|Downtown Bellingham

Fourth Friday Art Walk

5:00pm|Historic Fairhaven

Seaside BBQ

5:30pm|Semiahmoo Resort

Salmon Dinner Sail

6:00pm|Bellingham Cruise Terminal

Matilda the Musical

7:00pm|Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth

The Hobbit

7:00pm|Judson Auditorium

Bellingham Community Chamber Orchestra

7:00pm| Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship

Improvised Musicals, LOL

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Trove Web Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1
Saturday
Upper Skagit Library Photo Contest

12:00pm

Ski to Sea Book Sale

10:00am|Bellingham Public Library

Play Readings with Dragon Tales Productions

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Plover Ferry Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

Matilda the Musical

7:00pm|Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth

The Hobbit

7:00pm|Judson Auditorium

Improvised Musicals, LOL

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Pancake Breakfast

8:00am|American Legion Post #154

Mount Vernon Farmers Market2333

9:00am|Riverwalk Park

Concrete Saturday Market

9:00am|Concrete Community Center

Anacortes Farmers Market

9:00am|Depot Arts Center

Bellingham Farmers Market

10:00am|Depot Market Square

Lummi Island Artists' Studio Tour

10:00am|Lummi Island

Birch Bay Book Sale

10:00am|Birch Bay Beach Park

Birch Bay Kite Festival

10:00am|Birch Bay Beach Park

Designing a Four-Season Hummingbird Garden

11:00am|Christianson's Nursery

Whatcom Memorial Day Parade

12:00pm|Downtown Bellingham

Plover Ferry Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

Poetry Night with Sara Sutton

7:00pm|Walton Theatre

see our complete calendar »

Trove Web Kids Guide 2019 Village Books Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1