Harry Powers photo
Joy Powers and Maddy Hall, above, are on a mission to prove that girls can be funny, too. They are featured in "Circus Dreams," a documentary about a troupe of 12- to 18-year-olds who are living out their dreams as members of the traveling Circus Smirkus. Maine Public Broadcasting Network will show the film on April 5 and 7.
Mar 26, 2012
LEWISTON — In early April, Maine Public Broadcasting Network will show "Circus Dreams," a feature documentary that captures the adventures of a sweet, funny and extremely bendy group of tweens and teens.
These 12- to 18-year-olds are living out their dreams within Circus Smirkus, the acclaimed traveling youth circus based in Vermont.
The film follows the young performers from the competitive audition process through their intensive three-week rehearsal period in the Vermont countryside, where they are coached by performers from the Ringling Brothers Circus, Big Apple Circus and Cirque Du Soleil. Physical theater artist Fritz Grobe, of Eepy Bird and Oddfellow Theater fame, is the juggling coach.
"Circus Dreams" chronicles their exhausting 70-performance tour in 14 towns over seven weeks, capturing their intense work ethic, passion for performance, deep friendships and budding loves.
The film focuses on four characters: Joy Powers and Maddy Hall, best friends and clown partners, who are on a mission to prove that “girls can be funny, too;" Jacob Tischler, who overcomes of his sense of isolation by finding a place to shine in the circus ring; and Thula Martin, a 12-year-old hula dancer from Hawaii, who grows from an injured child into a capable young woman over the course of the film.
The supporting cast includes death-defying aerialists and two brothers on a quest to become the best diabolo jugglers in the world.
"Mainstream media aimed at teens and tweens tends to feature a lot of negative stereotypes and rampant consumerism and really lacks positive role models, especially for girls," said filmmaker Signe Taylor. " In 'Circus Dreams,' I wanted to present a noncommercial, authentic and alternative vision of the struggles and triumphs of youth."
"Circus Dreams" has received numerous festival awards, including an Indie Spec Award at the 2011 Boston International Film Festival.
WCBB-Channel 10 will show the film at 10 p.m. Thursday, April 5, and 11 a.m. Saturday, April 7.
Circus Smirkus will return to Maine this summer on its 25th anniversary tour, with four live performances in Freeport on Aug. 6-7 presented by and benefiting the Merriconeag Warldorf schools.