An American Dramaturg in Armenia

Reflections on a 5-month sojourn as a Fulbright Scholar to the Yerevan Institute for Cinematography and Theatre

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artistic director of Active Cultures, the Vernacular Theatre of Maryland

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Chinese Circus in Yerevan

Photos: Wildly enthusiastic school children wait for the circus to begin. In the second picture, an aeralist act involvinv bungee cords.

On Friday. October 21st, 2005, at 5 pm, I went to see a Chinese Circus perform with the Yerevan Circus at the Yerevan State Circus Building.

The Chinese Circus consisted of a troupe of about 12 very young and charming acrobats. I have seen many Chinese circus troupes but this is the first one that I have seen with a comic slant. Many of the acts were set within humorous story lines. In one, a contortionist act, a boy chased a girl with firecrackers and then they both got stuck in a giant firecracker in a variety of uncomfortable and unbelievable poses. In another, a young boy tried to join in the routine of a group of martial arts-esque tumblers and became the butt of their antics.

The acrobatic acts of the Chinese circus were supplemented by animal acts (dancing bear, trick ponies, etc.) from the Yerevan Circus.

The large and enthusiastic audience was made up primarily of school groups and young families with a healthy sprinkling of grandparents with grandchildren. The kids around me definitely enjoyed the performance. They also enjoyed the cotton candy, popcorn and fake noses they bought from vendors outside the building. It was one of the best performances for children I have seen in a long time and was just the right length.


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