Back to the circus
What: My Circus Valentine Retrospective Love Fest
WHEN: 6pm and 9pm Sat., Feb. 13 and 3pm, 6pm and 9pm Sun., Feb. 14
Wednesday, February 10, 2021
If memory serves, “My Circus Valentine” was one of the last shows I attended before coronavirus-related closures dimmed stage lights across the nation.
The Cirque Lab was abuzz with action that February night. A longtime friend and I were attending an early, kid-friendly version of the annual blowout celebrating love in all of its many iterations, and her 9-year-old daughter buzzed around the roomy warehouse space with a buddy as her mom and I procured a few sweet treats from a costumed vendor and then secured seats near the aisle. By the time the lights dimmed and the show started, we were among more than a couple hundred humans of all ages who were in thrall of the talent unfolding before us.
I’d give anything to rewind the clock and be back at the Bellingham Circus Guild’s headquarters, whispering to my friend as jugglers, aerialists, trapeze artists, magicians and more entertained the masses—making us laugh and gasp and feel our hearts swell with the beauty of what happens when performers give of themselves so completely.
Turns out, we can go back in time. Sort of. Late last week, event founder and producer Anneka Deacon announced that those who were bemoaning not being able to gather together and revel in the magic of a live circus show were in luck. After poring over a decade’s worth of archived material from past shows, she and fellow organizers had determined there was plenty of material to provide a needed boost for those missing creative connections.
At five “My Circus Valentine Retrospective Love Fest” viewings taking place virtually Feb. 13-14, Deacon and company will hearken back to some of their favorite acts since the event debuted at a “ramshackle” space behind a Cornwall Avenue antique store before going on to become a sought-after Valentine tradition.
“Reconnect with your favorite Circus Valentine superstars from your cozy nest,” Deacon says. “Get gussied up or watch in your jammies. Invite your friends to meet up at our Zoom pre-show party, ‘chat’ it up before the show, and watch together. You may even see some of your favorite circus superheroes there in the Zoom with you! Reminisce about your favorite acts from the past decade of shows, or discover a taste of what you’ve been missing all these years.”
Deacon points out the COVID-19 pandemic has hit circus artists especially hard, and says proceeds from the event will go straight to the performers to help sustain them through continued closures in the industry. (If you’re able to, consider donating even more than the stated ticket price.)
For those who’ve previously attended a gig at the Cirque Lab, it’s likely you already know you’ll get your money’s worth. If you’ve never been, consider that last year’s 10-year anniversary show ended with a group finale on an infinity rope loop—an aerial rope that runs continuously through two pulleys at the top. Those of us who were there to see the nine artists pull off the fearsome feat were gobsmacked, and I’m hoping it’s one of the acts that will be integrated into this weekend’s virtual viewings.
Deacon says you may want to watch more than one performance, as there will be two distinct shows, each with 25 percent unique content. This means about a quarter of the acts in the all-ages shows will be different than the adult shows, and vice versa. The later shows may also be a bit less kid-friendly due to some brief sword-swallowing, “sexy stuff” and dicey language. Use your discretion when ordering, and then settle in for a love fest.
“Our bubbles may be small, but our hearts are big,” Deacon says. “So order in, fix yourself a hot tea or a frosty beverage, and rediscover the joy, magic and community that circus can bring.”
Photo by Carolyn Watson
Staging their comebacks
As more people get in the queue for COVID-19 vaccines, the prospect of once again attending live theater events comes a little closer to being a reality. But we’re not quite there yet, so it seems like an opportune time to check in on the state of a few of our local stages.
Back in time with Beowulf
Rosalind Reynolds would be perfectly justified at holding a grudge against the universe for blighting the world with a pandemic that closed down most performing arts venues right around the time she was set to begin her stint as iDiOM Theater’s Playwright in Residence. But during a recent…
Julian the Humble
When reading through press materials for local playwright Rosalind Reynolds’ new work, Julian the Humble, the word “anchorite” was used more than once to describe the fascinating woman the title character is based on.
Before searching out more details about Reynolds and the Middle Ages…