CIRCUS INCOGNITUS Coming to Washington University's Edison Theatre on Jan 16
Dec. 16, 2009 -- Jamie Adkins can walk on wire, stand atop unsupported ladders, do handstands off the back of a chair and juggle just about anything.
But in Circus INcognitus, this internationally acclaimed clown, balancing artist and acrobat - a featured soloist with Cirque du Soleil and Montreal's Cirque Éloize - must attempt the one thing he fears most: public speaking.
Next month Adkins will bring Circus INcognitus, his family friendly solo show, to Washington University's Edison Theatre. The one-time-only performance, which begins at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 16, will launch Edison's annual ovations for young people series, which presents specially priced matinees for audiences of all ages.
Tickets are $10, though subscriptions to all four ovations for young people events are available for $6 each. Tickets are available at the Edison Theatre Box Office and through all MetroTix outlets. Edison Theatre is located in the Mallinckrodt Student Center, 6445 Forsyth Blvd.
For more information, call (314) 935-6543 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Combining a dancer's grace with a silent film star's manic energy, Adkins uses modest, everyday objects to fashion elaborate circus routines that are at once funny, breathtaking and surprisingly poignant.
The hour-long show begins with Adkins entering a dark and nearly empty stage, flashlight in hand, searching for a comically long light switch. Dressed casually in baggy pants and suspenders, he is too shy to address the waiting microphone but allows his physical gifts to speak for him as he struggles to articulate ideas about what a performance should be.
Things begin simply enough. A ping-pong ball bounces on a wooden chair seat. A crumpled piece of paper refuses to be discarded. A bowler hat twirls up and down Adkins' arms. Yet the routines grow increasingly spectacular and outrageous as Adkins duels with a pair of wildly roaming ladders and does handstands atop a not-so-very-tight rope.
"Though Mr. Adkin's best routines draw OOHS and AHS, he is just as successful at drawing laughs," notes The New York Times. The New York Daily Gazette adds that, "Adkins hasn't reinvented juggling or clowning, he's just made them more interesting to watch through the powers of personality and grace."
Adkins began his career at the age of 13 as street performer in his native San Diego. He then joined San Francisco's Pickle Family Circus, an influentiAl Cooperative that mixes traditional circus skills with music, drama, dance and humor (while eschewing live animals and other three-ring tropes).
As a member of Cirque Éloize, which he joined in 1998, Adkins was featured in more than 500 performances of Excentricus, the company's first international touring show. He then teamed up with the Cirque Éloize offshoot Theatre T & Co. to produce and star in the screwball duet Typo (2004), which follows a Chaplinesque playwright struggling to outfox writer's block. Nominated for three Drama Desk Awards, Typo won the admiration of critics and audiences and toured the world for more than 200 performances.
Additional credits include a starring role in WinTuk, Cirque du Soleil's annual winter holiday show, now in its third season at New York's WaMu Theater. His many honors include both the Annie Fratellinni Clown Prize and a Bronze Medal at the prestigious Festival International du Cirque de Demain in Paris.
Ovations for young people
The ovations for young people series will continue Jan. 23 with Scrap Arts Music, which performs on one-of-a-kind instruments built from recycled and salvaged materials. On Feb. 20 the contemporary African-American dance company PHILADANCO will present Rosa, a tribute to civil rights activist Rosa Parks. The series will conclude May 8 with Darwin, a heart-warming dinosaur story by Corbian Visual Arts and Dance, which uses electroluminescent wire to create glowing, crayon-like creatures that light up the stage.
Founded in 1973, the Edison Theatre OVATIONS Series serves both Washington University and the St. Louis community by providing the highest caliber national and International Artists in music, dance and theater, performing new works as well as innovative interpretations of classical material not otherwise seen in St. Louis.
Edison Theatre programs are made possible with support from the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency; the Regional Arts Commission, St. Louis; and private contributors. The OVATIONS Season is supported by The Mid-America Arts Alliance with generous underwriting by the National Endowment for the Arts and foundations, corporations and individuals throughout Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas.