Friendship, comedy and R numbers: Circus Alcatraz visits Athens | Arts & Culture
Cirque Italia kicked off its opening show, Cirque Alcatraz, on Thursday at the Athens Exhibition Center. This circus show is no ordinary act and exceeds the standards of a regular circus. Combining comedy and musical numbers, the performers bring their dangerous talents to create an experience like no other.
Steve Copeland, media and advertising director, and Ryan Coombs, production director, met 13 years ago and were contacted by Cirque Italia last year. Copeland and Coombs are both comedians and track masters. They started working on the production of Cirque Alcatraz in September 2020.
Before Cirque Italia, Copeland and Coombs had always worked on family entertainment. The angst and violence of the series intrigued them and sparked ideas to create a unique plot for the series.
“At the time of its conception, [Cirque Alcatraz] was a dark, scary, and very gritty adult show, ”Coombs said. “And we thought, ‘Well, we’re not doing any of that – we’re doing some very light things.’ So we thought it would be a lot of fun to have this juxtaposition of a dark show with two happy, family guys.
The show tells the story of two friends who were imprisoned. A friend, Ryan, ignores the imprisonment and thinks he’s in an escape room. The other friend, Steve, panics in his new home. As Steve tries to keep the pair alive, Ryan happily tries to win the game. The two start the show with this scene and a musical number, with the performers dressed in orange prison costumes and dancing to the song.
The talented comedians of Copeland and Coombs are accompanied by numerous circus shows. The show features the usual awesome numbers one would see in a circus like trapeze, backflips and tightropes. A unique aspect of the show was the act of archery, where an artist acting like a police officer shot arrows at a prisoner. The audience sat on the edge of their seats and covered the entire stage with their eyes.
“I really liked the archery when the artist shot arrows,” Audience Member Sarah Miller said. “I come to all the circuses in town, and this one marked me. “
The show is rated R, and the violence and explicit lines are the reasons for that. The odds are up because of the harsh language, violence and sexual situations, according to Copeland and Coombs. Not only is there a striptease, but the death and notions of sexual activity are also used in the performance. Children under 13 are not allowed and children under 17 must be accompanied by a person aged 21 or over.
As for the show’s rating, audience member Samantha McIntyre “didn’t really know what to expect.”
“I guess it depended on the act,” McIntyre said. “But overall, I was excited to see the show.”
The show ends with the electrocution of Ryan and Steve devastated to see his best friend pass. After a brief series of performances, Steve appears in the crowd to find Ryan visiting him like an angel, and the two sing a final goodbye to the crowd.
Friendship and relativity are two important themes in the series. Copeland and Coombs said these two ideas kept audiences engaged in the show, a unique take on the dangerous circus.
“We’re trying to show a friendship struggle, and people relate to it,” Coombs said. “They walk away thinking they’re actually like us in real life. They relate to one of us, so we wanted to integrate that into this environment with verbal dialogue and musical numbers. “
Cirque Alcatraz put on a fun and exciting show for audiences across the country, but history and friendships are at the heart of the event. The show is not only full of talented performers and dangerous tricks, but the friendship that Copeland and Coombs bring to the show’s plot engages audiences like no other circus.
The event at the Athens Exhibition Center will continue until Sunday, August 29, with shows on Saturday and Sunday at 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets and more information about the show are available at the Cirque Alcatraz website.