Circus Center's Birdhouse Factory at the Palace of Fine Arts
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The last date listed for Birdhouse Factory was Sunday January 2, 2005 / 2:00pm.
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!Features mind-blowing stunts, spectacular mid-air choreography, awe-inspiring acrobatics, jugglers, hand-balancers, contortionists and much more
Bring the whole family! Don’t miss out on the fun, beauty and exuberant joy of Birdhouse Factory!
The flying hoop of an aerialist is lifted up in the air by a strange trolley powered by an acrobat in a giant wheel; the beautiful contortionist performs on a turntable put into motion by unicyclists; two acrobats improvise a vertical tango on a steam pipe; a large metal fan is activated by a man balancing on a rola-bola; and the factory workers engage into a wild drumming jam session on the assembly line.
Welcome to The Birdhouse Factory, an extraordinary industrial plant, somewhere in San Francisco in the 1920’s, or the 30’s, or the 40’s, where every machine is used as a prop for one amazing circus act after another – a place where breathtaking acrobatics and fantastic machinery meet. Yet all this implausible, mind-boggling activity has a purpose: to build the best, biggest, and most perfect birdhouse ever!
Originally conceived by Chris Lashua, a German Wheel acrobat and a veteran of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey and Cirque du Soleil, The Birdhouse Factory has been developed jointly by Chris and Pickle alumni Sam Payne, Sandra Feusi, Aloysia Gavre and Rex Camphuis. Sam, Sandra and Aloysia are familiar names at Circus Center: former students of Master Teacher Lu Yi, they learned their craft at the San Francisco School of Circus Arts in the school’s early years. Then they toured for several years with the New Pickle Circus – before joining Cirque du Soleil, in the troupe of which they toured internationally. Since they left the Canadian entertainment giant, they have been seen in other prestigious venues here and abroad. When Sam, Sandra and Aloysia toured with the Pickles, Rex oversaw many of the technical aspects of the show – and even of the school during the rehearsal periods! He eventually moved to Los Angeles where he has pursued a career in movies and television. It is at that time also that Rex met Aloysia and Sam met Sandra. But this is another story…
This multi-talented creative team found part of its visual inspiration in the works of two artists with strong ties to San Francisco: the outrageous mechanical illustrations of cartoonist Rube Goldberg, a San Francisco native; and the industrial murals of Mexican artist Diego Rivera. To which one must add Chaplin’s classic movie, Modern Times.
The show will include the acts of its creators, adapted to the unique and fascinating visual atmosphere of The Birdhouse Factory: the mind-blowing circumvolutions of Chris Lashua on the German Wheel; the exhilarating and spectacular mid-air choreography of Aloysia on the aerial hoop; the awe-inspiring acrobatic tango of Sam & Sandra on the Chinese Pole. Add to this the mesmerizing combination of superlative juggling, object manipulation and physical comedy of Indiana-based juggler and Cirque du Soleil veteran Steven Ragatz, and truly amazing hand-balancers and contortionists from China’s internationally acclaimed Nanjing Acrobatic Troupe (for the first time in America). And, of course, stupendous acrobats from our very own Circus Center.
Birdhouse Factory will bring its picturesque mixture of crazy machinery and astonishing acrobatics to the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre from December 15, 2004 to January 2, 2005, celebrating at the same time thirty years of San Francisco’s most beloved institution, the Pickle Circus.