August 1-18, 2013
OZ – 2013 Summer Show Summary
In summer 2013, audiences encountered an enigmatic magician, an odious fortune teller, and an organ grinder with a mischievous monkey; all members of a curious gypsy-circus crossing a bleak and windswept landscape. A Kansas-sized twister swept them up, coiling and twisting them dizzy, until they were hurtled down to somewhere over the rainbow where a Cirque du Soleil fantasy world awaited! Just outside their door audience members came face-to-face with acrobatic Munchkins and a glittering witch afloat in a bubble. A pair of ruby slippers led them down a Yellow Brick Road fraught with adventure; a ruminating scarecrow with no brain, a spinning tin man with no heart, and a quaking lion with no courage. Arriving at a crossroads where east meets west and north meets south, audience members beware the wrath of a wicked witch, or maybe two! Green glasses were a necessity when gazing upon the dazzling Emerald City; zany gatekeepers, acrobatic crowds, and their outlandish Mayor and Ozma their queen, all-in-green! The great and mysterious Wizard granted wishes only if you accomplished the impossible! And in order to find home again audiences traveled further into darkness, endured aerial attacks from the wicked monkey king and his flying minions, battled gravity-defying castle guards on a rocky castle wall, and confronted the evilest Witch of the West.
Clearly I didn’t do my research before attending the opening-night performance of Circus Juventas’ summer production Oz. It wasn’t much like I’d imagined it would be. It was so much MORE! The show had more of everything – dozens of jaw-droppingly talented youth and young adults, a ceaseless assortment of acrobatic apparatus, and a running time just over three hours – than I’d gone in expecting. It all added up to a smashing night out at the circus with my oldest daughter… My daughter and I genuinely thank Circus Juventas for providing us an opportunity to experience this St. Paul gem.
Cirque du Soleil, the famous acrobatic troupe that inspired Circus Juventas, changed our idea of what a circus can be. Now Circus Juventas has transformed our image of the land of “Oz,” tweaking the tale and telling it with an amazing mix of aerial and earthbound acrobatics, graceful ballet moves, contortions, fire juggling, clowning and over-the top theatrics.
Dare I say Circus Juventas is more exciting than the troupe that inspired it? Under their custom-made big top, you get to sit much closer to the action. And you’re always aware that these are young nonprofessionals (mostly teens) doing impossible and dangerous routines — some without a net, a safety line or mats underneath. It makes you hold your breath frequently…