Circus Flora opens a new season with “Marooned,” June 6–23

Getting stranded on a desert island doesn’t seem so bad if you have good company—like the whimsical and wonderful performers of Circus Flora. This season’s show, “Marooned,” opens Saturday and runs through June 23 at The Big Top in Grand Center.

“It’s a desert island story where a pirate is searching for an ancient treasure and comes across an island with special properties,” says Circus Flora artistic and executive director Jack Marsh. “We couch it all in a storyline, a narrative, a loose theatrical story that ties the whole set of performances together in a fun, lighthearted way.”

As ever, this year’s show features performers that will knock your socks off.

There’s a duo of aerialists performing an iron jaw act where they hold each other up by a tether in the teeth. (Their dentists must be proud!) The Daring Horseman combines acrobatics and equines, flying through the air between galloping horses. The fastest female bounce juggler in the world, Tersit Asefa Dersu, is visiting from Ethiopia. Flying families include the Flying Tabares on the flying trapeze and the Flying Wallendas on the high wire. Circus Harmony’s St. Louis Arches are sure to dazzle.

“Carlos Morales does something called the Wheel of Death,” says Marsh, mentioning wheels of both the hamster and Ferris variety in describing the apparatus. “There shouldn’t be any death—that’s part of the job.”

The audience is up close and personal with the Wheel and all of the other acts. “What’s so great about Circus Flora is the proximity to the ring,” Marsh says. “You’re never more than 20 feet from the ring. All this is sort of right on top of you—it’s all very visceral and analog and right in front of you. It’s a really wonderful experience.”

The show’s run includes a variety of special themed nights, from a peanut-free preview on June 6 to hourlong Little Top Wednesdays on June 12 and 19 to a sensory-friendly performance on the afternoon of June 14 to Pride Night at 7 p.m. on June 14.

“That’s so much a part of what we do,” says Marsh. “Those nights are us trying to go above and beyond in our desire to be inclusive.” The circus has outreach programs to meet that goal as well, including “Clowns on Call,” which sends smiles into children’s hospitals, and “Share the Circus,” which involves giving away free tickets.

“Circus Flora is so unique as a piece of entertainment,” says Marsh. “There’s not much else that can be enjoyed by three different generations and all different backgrounds and political persuasions.” Modern humans are so often siloed within the curated experiences of our screens, says Marsh, but “coming to Circus Flora takes you out of that and puts you into the real world.”

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