The Moss Arts Center presents two performances of Cirque Mechanics’s popular production, “Birdhouse Factory,” on Thursday, Feb. 3, and Friday, Feb. 4, at 7:30 p.m. in the Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre.
A factory might be one of the most unlikely settings for a circus, especially one where the workers are acrobats and the machines are circus props. Cirque Mechanics boldly leads audience members into a world of colorful characters, daring acrobatics, and innovative mechanics with “Birdhouse Factory.”
Cirque Mechanics finds its heart in stories of American ingenuity. In its return to the Moss, Cirque brings its family-favorite “Birdhouse Factory,” a simple story of daily life in a “widgets” factory circa 1935. Here, workers are brought together by the most unlikely of events: a bird accidentally injured by the main steam boiler.
The accident and caring for the bird bring the workers closer and inspire them to break away from the efficiency and monotony of the assembly-line mentality to display their true inner talents and abilities. In the process, they use their bodies and machines to build birdhouses in a human, joyful, and soulful way.
In “Birdhouse Factory,” a contortionist performs on a turntable powered by unicyclists, a trapeze artist flies high thanks to the spins of an acrobat inside a giant gear-like wheel, and trampoline wall artists defy the laws of physics by virtually walking on air.
The production was inspired, in part, by the masterful industry murals of Mexican-born artist Diego Rivera, the outrageous illustrations of cartoonist Rube Goldberg, and the slap-stick humor of Charlie Chaplin’s film “Modern Times.” While these inspirations make “Birdhouse Factory” artful, nostalgic, and funny, the true essence of the show comes from the circus.
“Birdhouse Factory” delivers a timeless message of hope, camaraderie, and the power of the collaborative human spirit when presented with adversity. Although conceptualized prior to the pandemic and inspired by the Great Depression, it addresses the challenges faced by the industry and workers during unprecedented times.
The story is one of imaginative recovery where humans create magic when working together towards common goals. Audience members will be enchanted by the story of laughter, love, flight, and birdhouses.
Students, teachers, and families from Radford City and Floyd, Giles, Montgomery, and Pulaski counties will attend a free school-day performance of “Birdhouse Factory” offered for area public, private, and homeschools.
Tickets for the performances are $25-55 for the general public and $10 for Virginia Tech students. Tickets can be purchased online; at the Moss Arts Center’s box office, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; or by calling 540-231-5300 during box office hours.
Proof of COVID-19 vaccination or negative COVID-19 test is required for those ages 12 and over to attend this performance. Masks are required at all times for patrons, visitors, and staff regardless of vaccination status in all indoor spaces at the Moss Arts Center.