The Main Theatre at Keene State College was illuminated with laughter and applause, and many children filled the room on March 23 when the famous Bindlestiff Family Cirkus performed at KSC.
According to the information provided by the Redfern Arts Center, for over two decades the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus has reimagined classic American circus traditions with a unique contemporary twist to create a vibrant culture for American variety arts. One of the co-founders of Bindlestiff, Keith Nelson, said that they have a good balance between traditions and contemporariness. He said, “We have a major respect for everything that’s happened before us, we bring a lot of those traditional elements into our show, we also try to respond to what’s happening in today’s world, so there is a little bit of contemporary edge, but I feel we are pretty rooted in the traditional realm of the art form.”
According to Nelson, the use of the letter “k” in the “Cirkus” tends to give them a little more freedom. “We are not in a tent, we don’t have elephants, we don’t have horses… so, it opens it up a little bit.”
With the theme of Cardboard & Duct Tape Spectacular, the Bindlestiffs showed that some cardboard, duct tape, and creativity is all that is needed to find joy. One of the audience members, Bree Watson, pointed at her two sons and said, “It’s gonna get them thinking, like, ‘it’s just cardboard, just duct tape.’ I wouldn’t be surprised if they came home and started using all the boxes and tape and doing something with it.”
Nine-year-old Ozias Watson said he enjoyed the color and the energy of the circus.
The variety in ages of the audience members went along with the wide variety in performances. Saturday afternoon at the Redfern was filled with juggling, aerobatics, aerial acts and humor. Director of the Redfern Arts Center Shannon Mayers said around 300 tickets were sold. She said that the event was a success. When asked about any future plans with Bindlestiff, Mayers said, “It [would] be kind of fun to bring them and do something outside with them.”
The show was followed by a post-show meet-and-greet and reception with Bindlestiff. Mayers said, “For little kids, it’s such a big deal to be able to see people who are up on the stage doing stuff, and they come see [the performers] right in front of them, that is always fun.”
Nelson said, “I think we had a really good time. Everyone’s still hanging out, nobody is throwing rotten fruit at us, I think it went well.” Nelson said thank you to Keene State for supporting live entertainment. He added by saying, “Put your phone down, don’t look at your Facebook, pay for your ticket and enjoy human beings doing amazing things.”
Puja Thapa can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org