Cirque US: Dive into your dreams

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Great Barrington, Mass. — The circus is coming to town, but it's not the type of circus you might expect.

Doug Stewart and his fellow Circus Smirkus alumni are using the medium of the circus to tell stories through his young company, Cirque US. Their current show, "Dream Cycle," is touring through New England and New York, boasting to "reimagine traditional circus" by bringing audience members to new worlds. "Dream Cycle" is coming to Great Barrington on Friday, Aug. 4, at 1 and 6 p.m. at 115 Gas House Lane. Tickets are $15 for kids and $18 for kids, and $20 at the door.

"Our new show is a story about a character named Sorrell in her world of dreams, fear and nightmares," Stewart said. "Each act has a different person directing it."

According to Stewart — the Cirque US founder and director, as well as the "Dream Cycle" tour manager — none of the characters in the show speak. Instead, much like a dance performance, nearly all communication is relayed through the performer's body movements, which opens the show up to a wide variety of interpretations. Instead of focusing on specific plot points, the show focuses on themes and feelings found in dreams, such as the dream of flying, and the sensation of wanting to fly — all communicated through dance and movement.

Despite the wide range of interpretations, Stewart reassures "there's no wrong answer to interpreting art." The show was designed to be adaptable, in order to fit in with a wide variety of venues, which means that it doesn't have the luxury of large set pieces, specific lighting, or powerful sound design that a show contained to one venue might have. However, that does not mean the show does not have any atmosphere, or mood.

"The mood all comes from the performers and the energy they bring," Stewart said. "We've been told that our shows have a gentle, mature touch to them."

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As such, "Dream Cycle" will feature minimum set design, with no more than a few neutral-colored pieces of furniture and some sheets to create a "homey feel." Despite the fact that "Dream Cycle" borrows from artistic mediums outside of the circus, its directors and performers primarily have backgrounds in the circus.

"We all met at Smirkus," Stewart said. "Some of us are going to college for business, some of us are studying theater and tech. Some of us are going to circus school, to sharpen our skills every day. We even have somebody who was just on tour with the Ringling brothers [clown Chase Culp] and Chicago's Midnight Circus [Sam Ferlo]."

If you go...

What: Cirque US' "Dream Cycle,"

When: Friday, Aug. 4, at 1 and 6 p.m. The show is 90 minutes with an intermission.

Where: BERKCIRQUE, 115 Gas House Lane, Great Barrington, Mass.

Price: $15-18


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