Originally appeared on the Ball State Daily News website
Circus, mechanics and theater, oh my.
Blending mechanical equipment and traditional circus elements is one of the main features of Cirque Mechanics’ new show Pedal Punk, which will be on campus at 7:30 p.m. today in John R. Emens Auditorium.
Cirque Mechanics was founded in 2004 by Chris Lashua, who also serves as the group’s creative director.
After achieving great success with his collaborative project Birdhouse Factory with the Circus Center of San Francisco, Lashua was able to establish Cirque Mechanics as a premiere American circus. It launched its second production, Boom Town, in October 2010, which was a Gold Rush-era story full of adventure of the Wild West.
Presented in partnership with Broadway Center for the Performing Arts in Tacoma, Washington, the show wowed audiences during its 2010-11 U.S. tour. Now, Cirque Mechanics is back and wowing audiences again with its show Pedal Punk.
Lashua has a background in BMX and performed as a professional trick cyclist for Cirque du Soleil for many years. This is where he was introduced to theatrical circus. The thing that sets new circuses apart from traditional circuses is mixing lighting, dance and storyline, Lashua said.
Drawing inspiration from his years of experiences, he created devices based on mechanical contraptions made from bicycle parts. This allowed him to create acrobatic content with what he had created.
“The ability to create acrobatic content and support and enhance that with a mechanical contraption seemed to broaden the appeal of the work,” Lashua said. “This visual display of the mechanical support of the circus acts has become the central element in our productions.”
The show Pedal Punk is a world where cycling is the way to escape the technology-obsessed society. Following a bike shop mechanic, audiences witness the excitement and thrill of how his artistry creates machines that inspire the cyclist in us all to become a Pedal Punk.
“It is this display of the connectedness of the acrobats and the machines that is central to our shows,” Lashua said. “This visual representation of cause and effect can be clearly seen in a number of our original acts.”
Expect to see circus performances combined with original mechanical gadgetry featuring acts such as acrobatics, comedy and mechanical apparatus all set in a wacky bike shop. There will also be contortionists, trampolines, juggling and high-flying unicyclists.
Always working on taking what they do to the next level, Lashua said the creative team is working on a new touring show and developing water-based apparatuses to support shows that can take place in pools or outdoor water environments.
Witness the exciting and dazzling performances that will take place in the show Pedal Punk and experience the way multiple art forms can come together to create a show for all ages.