Circus Contraption ...a bracing curative for the afflictions of our times...
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Circus Contraption shows boast an outlandish aesthetic and original live music. Since the ensemble formed in 1998 we have created these full-length works:

In addition, we've created custom bits around Wagner's "Ring", produced holiday festivities like "The Gravediggers' Ball," presented festive sets of circus acts at community fairs near and far, created a unique atmosphere at many a party, and rocked out a string of music clubs.

For a schedule of upcoming appearances, refer to our Events page.

 
“The SHOW to End All SHOWS”

The SHOW to End All SHOWS debuted May 2008 at Theo Chocolate in Fremont.  A departure from Circus Contraption’s usual turn-of-the-century fare, The SHOW to End All SHOWS imagines a family-owned circus with all of the glamour and glitz of the 70’s and 80’s.  The time, however, is now, or even slightly in the future, and the glamour shows signs of decay.  A sense of imminent destruction looms as things begin to go awry under the tent.  The Ringmaster, (a Jim Jones-style patriarch), insists upon the willful denial of their world’s demise by not only his progeny, but also the audience.  This joyful romp to oblivion will draw inspiration from the circuses of excess in those decades of decadence, and feature “traditional” circus acts such as trained pink poodles and aerial mermaids, all re-imagined by their human counterparts in Circus Contraption and scored by the incredible Circus Contraption Band. Their latest twisted take on Americana also tells the story of the show that must go on, despite all evidence that the show, maybe even the world, will be extinguished before the closing act.

For ten years, Circus Contraption has been at the forefront of the modern circus movement.  After six years at Sand Point Magnuson Park, Circus Contraption returns to its birthplace, Fremont, to transform the old Red Hook Brewery warehouse, (the south end of Theo Chocolate), into Seattle’s own alternative big-top.  And for the first time, Circus Contraption is collaborating with a team of top-flight theater professionals: director Erin Brindley (a recent New York import), scenic designer Jennifer Zeyl, lighting designer Ben Zamora, and costume designer Christine Tschirgi.

 

"A fantastic and demented evening of entertainment" - Seattle Weekly

"Circus Contraption at its best" - The Stranger

"Old-school circus champagne on a beer budget... It's in the second act that we are reminded of what, once light shines on the darker recesses, often scuttles out... The band blasts its own jazz epitaph like a defiant shriek... Circus Contraption manages to turn decline into its own artistic ascent." - Seattle Post-Intelligencer

 

This show was generously supported by the following organizations:

The Seattle Foundation  Your gift. Your community.

 
“Grand American Traveling Dime Museum”

Circus Contraption announces the imminent arrival of its Grand American Traveling Dime Museum! For a modest admission you will be privy to a vast Collection of Exhibits guaranteed to Educate and Entertain. Featuring Miracles of Man and of Nature, Curiosities of the Past and Marvels of the Modern Age. A veritable Confectionery of exquisite Novelties awaits the genteel Visitor.

  • A captivating Carousel of fanciful Fauna Formations!
  • Audaciously effervescent (and smartly dressed) Dancing Girls!
  • Animated Manikins of undisciplined and disorderly demeanor!
  • Masterly displays of extraordinary Aerialism!
  • Equilibrism executed with startling accuracy of judgment!
  • And as always, outlandishly original Musical Arrangements of the First Quality, performed by the unparalleled Circus Contraption Orchestra!

These are but a few of the Wonders presented Live and on stage by Seattle's own One-ring Circus and pre-eminent Amusement Institution. Designed to stimulate all aspects of the Human Organism, the Museum offers a unique experience for every constitution. No one who enters leaves unchanged!

"...moments of pure genius. DON'T MISS!" - Time Out New York

"Chances to see shows this fun come along rarely at best" - nytheatre.com

"An impressive array of talent, discipline and ingenuity" - Seattle P-I

"Unpredictable, almost unimaginable delight" - The Stranger

"Great finesse" - San Francisco Weekly

This project received support from 4Culture and the King County Lodging Tax.

 
Photo by David Adam Edelstein.

 
“Gallimaufry”

Our Spring 2002 production presented a special evening of jiggery-pokery, just for you. Baroque Wrestlers! Giant Insects! Shimmering Aerialists! Necrobalancers! An Opera Diva! A Beer Bottle Orchestra! A Tiny Man who flies through the Air! Throw in some phenomenal live music, and you've got yourself a night to remember.

View the slideshow of images from "Gallimaufry." (In Peeps)

 
“A Raree Show”

A collection of greatest hits, with a new shadow puppet show ("The Animals Are Behind Bars"), all in a complete circus experience package with midway attractions and "backstage" antics.

 
“Beer, Bread and Cheese Cabaret”

Debuting in October of 2000, this new show format is a vehicle for presenting new Circus Contraption experiments, old favorites and guest artists. Newly created for this irregular series, the Circus Contraption midway extends the circus experience to intermission and beyond with twisted carnival games. An entertainment-packed evening of variety arts and music, carbohydrates and hops.

Some of the new acts brought to life by "Beer, Bread and Cheese" are:

  • our faaabulous gameshow -- "Spank the Audience"
  • a completely reworked insect-tamer act -- the Beetle Girl has company!
  • a shadow-puppet rendition of "Animals Behind Bars," our drunken-animal song
  • a revised glow-ball juggling act, choreographed to a rompin' new klezmer tune
  • Vaudevillainous bits like a bike balance and, uh, cow joke
 
“...all fall down”

This show crawls into the creepy recesses of child psychology, and twists traditional circus arts. Featuring:

  • swingset bullies
  • a nightmare puppet
  • button-spinning pretend sex
  • a fascistic gym class with rope climbing and club swinging
  • necrobalancing
  • boy pirates

See the boys and girls of Circus Contraption playing, fighting, sweating, teasing, scratching, crying and -- of course -- falling down.

"Deliciously sinister" says Joe Adcock of the Seattle P-I. Read more reviews.

View the slideshow of images from "...all fall down." (In Peeps)

Photo of Mortimer and Ophelia by Michelle Bates.

 
“Circus Contraption: A Surreal Circus”
 
Circus Contraption: A Surreal Circus

Since their birth in 1999, the baby aardvark ballerinas have grown to serve as mascots for Circus Contraption.

View the slideshow of surreal shots! (In Peeps)

 
Photo by Miguel Edwards.

 
  

This potpourri of circus oddities highlights Circus Contraption's signature aesthetic. Surreal costumes and live original music accompany an assortment of physical feats.

Acts include:

  • Baby aardvark ballerinas
  • The Kohlrabi Brothers: this unfortunate trio performs acts of juggling inspired by former careers on the assembly line.
  • Beetle Tamer: Our ringmaster bravely shares the ring with a ferocious and sexy six-foot beetle.
  • Fairies Flit on the Trapeze: Our fairies don't fly, but they are certainly flittery.
  • Spanish Web: Our aerialists display their prowess on the rope.
  • Pelican Girl: Half human, half waterfowl, this living oddity waltzes across the stage into your heart.

Because of its variety-theater nature, "Circus Contraption: A Surreal Circus" can be easily adapted to a wide variety of audiences. The show has been well received by both "family" and "adults only" audiences.

 
 

 
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