Artists Space

Circus Amok

Performance
August 13, 2022, 2pm

In conjunction with the exhibition Attention Line, the radical New York City circus and theater troupe Circus Amok makes its triumphant return with its first new show since 2018 at Artists Space in Cortlandt Alley on Saturday, August 13th at 2pm. The show is free and open to the public.

Witness as a beleaguered band of circus performers flee fire and flood, transphobia, misogyny and more, seeking refuge in the arms of New York City. But…will they find it?? Find out for yourself when you attend Circus Amok's back-alley political queer extravaganza!

Expect stunning stilters, jaunty jugglers, astounding acrobats, drag queens, nerd bots and more...danger, glamour, glitter, beware!! The show's star-studded cast includes Becca Blackwell, Jules Skloot, Claire Dolan, Stephanie Woods, Pher Gleason, Lex Alston, Kym Bernazky, David Guzman, Zo Williams, and Kali Therrien, with the infamous Circus Amok band directed by Jenny Romaine and featuring Ben Meyers, Jessica Lurie, Mary Feaster, and Lee Free, and a set designed by Scotty Heron.

A color photograph of several figures marching in the middle of the street while holding up posters. One of the figures is wearing stilts, while others are pushing carts or instruments on wheels. From the sidewalk, various pedestrians look on.
Circus Amok, The Experimental Walking Tour, 2002. Performed in various parks across the five burroughs. [A color photograph of several figures marching in the middle of the street while holding up posters. One of the figures is wearing stilts, while others are pushing carts or instruments on wheels. From the sidewalk, various pedestrians look on.]

Two figures on stilts wave orange flags. To each side and in front of them can be seen the heads of people watching them.
Circus Amok, Escape to New York. Performance documentation, August 13, 2022, Artists Space. [Two figures on stilts wave orange flags. To each side and in front of them can be seen the heads of people watching them.]
Two figures on stilts appear in motion.
Circus Amok, Escape to New York. Performance documentation, August 13, 2022, Artists Space. [Two figures on stilts appear in motion.]
A figure stands in the center, speaking into a microphone. To their right, two figures wear tall, pointy hats. To their left, a figure waves a flag while running.
Circus Amok, Escape to New York. Performance documentation, August 13, 2022, Artists Space. [A figure stands in the center, speaking into a microphone. To their right, two figures wear tall, pointy hats. To their left, a figure waves a flag while running.]
A figure wearing blue clothing uses the body of another person beneath them to hold their weight up.
Circus Amok, Escape to New York. Performance documentation, August 13, 2022, Artists Space. [A figure wearing blue clothing uses the body of another person beneath them to hold their weight up.]
A figure stands in the center of the image, juggling several small white balls above their head.
Circus Amok, Escape to New York. Performance documentation, August 13, 2022, Artists Space. [A figure stands in the center of the image, juggling several small white balls above their head.]
Three figures adorning firefighter costumes pass white buckets back and forth while being menaced from above by a figure wearing a wig.
Circus Amok, Escape to New York. Performance documentation, August 13, 2022, Artists Space. [Three figures adorning firefighter costumes pass white buckets back and forth while being menaced from above by a figure wearing a wig.]
A group of figures dressed as firefighters spread out a tarp. Behind them is a cardboard set illustrated to look like a fire.
Circus Amok, Escape to New York. Performance documentation, August 13, 2022, Artists Space. [A group of figures dressed as firefighters spread out a tarp. Behind them is a cardboard set illustrated to look like a fire.]
A crowd watches a large humanoid blue bird turn around.
Circus Amok, Escape to New York. Performance documentation, August 13, 2022, Artists Space. [A crowd watches a large humanoid blue bird turn around.]
On the right, a figure speaking into a microphone appears to be in conversation with two humanoid blue birds.
Circus Amok, Escape to New York. Performance documentation, August 13, 2022, Artists Space. [On the right, a figure speaking into a microphone appears to be in conversation with two humanoid blue birds.]
Three figures stand in front of a large banner bearing a portrait.
Circus Amok, Escape to New York. Performance documentation, August 13, 2022, Artists Space. [Three figures stand in front of a large banner bearing a portrait.]
Two figures stand back to back, juggling clubs above their heads.
Circus Amok, Escape to New York. Performance documentation, August 13, 2022, Artists Space. [Two figures stand back to back, juggling clubs above their heads.]
Five figures wearing ornate green outfits play instruments. In front of them, a crowd can be seen sitting down.
Circus Amok, Escape to New York. Performance documentation, August 13, 2022, Artists Space. [Five figures wearing ornate green outfits play instruments. In front of them, a crowd can be seen sitting down.]
A figure points a microphone towards an audience, while various figures wearing white costumes and balancing plants on their heads can be seen just out of focus in the background.
Circus Amok, Escape to New York. Performance documentation, August 13, 2022, Artists Space. [A figure points a microphone towards an audience, while various figures wearing white costumes and balancing plants on their heads can be seen just out of focus in the background.]
Various figures in glittery costumes pose in front of a circus backdrop, holding out open fans.
Circus Amok, Escape to New York. Performance documentation, August 13, 2022, Artists Space. [Various figures in glittery costumes pose in front of a circus backdrop, holding out open fans.]

Dedicated to confronting contemporary social justice issues, Circus Amok began presenting one-off performances at P.S. 122 in 1989 before inaugurating their annual free outdoor shows in small neighborhood parks and well-traveled public squares in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx starting in 1994. Their outlandishly funny, politically feisty, joyously queer one-ring spectacles combine traditional circus skills–tight rope walking, juggling, acrobatics, stilt walking, clowning–with experimental dance, lifesize puppetry, improvisational techniques and live music. Essential to their practice is a fervent and energetic addressing of timely political themes and issues, which in recent years have included housing, health care, gentrification, gay marriage, immigration, the Department of Homeland Security, police brutality, police stop-and-frisk policies, and public education. Circus Amok’s gender-bending performance art expands the notion of what a circus can be for its public, and creates inimitable physical and verbal spectacles that invite the audience to envision a more empowered life of community interaction and equanimity.

Jennifer Miller, the director and founder of Circus Amok, is an Obie, Bessie, and Ethyl Eichelberg award winning playwright and performer who has worked with alternative circus forms, theater, and dance for over thirty years. As a dancer, Miller has performed with Cathy Weis, Jeff Weis, Jennifer Monson, John Jasperse, Johanna Boyce, Doug Elkins, and They Won’t Shut-up among many others. Miller is a professor of performance at Pratt Institute.

Program support is provided by Lambent Foundation Fund of Tides Foundation, The Andy Warhol Foundation, The Cowles Charitable Trust, The Cy Twombly Foundation, The David Teiger Foundation, The Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, The New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature, Imperfect Family Foundation, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, The Stavros Niarchos Foundation, The Willem de Kooning Foundation, The Fox Aarons Foundation, Herman Goldman Foundation, The Destina Foundation, The Luce Foundation, May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation, The Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation, Arison Arts Foundation, The David Rockefeller Fund, The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Foundation, The Jill and Peter Kraus Foundation, The Richard Pousette-Dart Foundation.