Circus Oz presents aerial stunts in ‘From the Ground Up’

By From page A14 | January 31, 2014

Circus OzW

A mixture of acrobatics and musicians flood the stage during an Circus Oz performance. They will perform Feb. 8 at the Mondavi Center. Rob Blackburn/Courtesy photo

Circus Oz — a touring Australian troupe described as “a rock ‘n’ roll, animal-free circus” — returns to the Mondavi Center at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 9, with a show titled “From the Ground Up.”

The show takes its inspiration from the famous Charles C. Ebbets photograph of 1932, “New York Construction Workers Lunching on a Crossbeam,” with the workers nibbling on sandwiches while seated on an exposed metal girder, hundreds of feet above the street below.

For this Circus Oz show, a huge construction beam is a focal piece of the circus set and facilitates the daring aerial performances and death-defying stunts that will be performed on the Mondavi Center stage.

Construction is the show’s central concept, and “the theme of the show takes us back to our own identity,” says Mike Finch, artistic director of Circus Oz. “What does it mean to be Australian? We are all really into the idea that we’re building it from the ground up, into a diverse community of people.”

This is also a show in which musicians double as acrobats, acrobats double as jugglers, jugglers double as trapeze artists, all in a world where everyone is a comic. The show has played in New York and other cities around the world; it is recommended for children age 5 and older and adults.

Circus Oz was last at the Mondavi Center in March 2012 with a show called “Steampunk.” Tickets for “From the Ground Up” start at $59 general and $24 for UC Davis students and are available at www.mondaviarts.org or 530-754-2787.

Jeff Hudson

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