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Pro-Art Welcomes Cirque Mechanics to County Wise | Sunday stories

Submitted by Diana Burden

POUND, Virginia – Step into the most unlikely setting for a circus, a factory. The one where the workers are acrobats and the machines are circus props. Welcome to Birdhouse Factory!

The Pro-Art Association is hosting Las Vegas-based circus troupe Cirque Mechanics at the Wise County Performing Arts Center at the JW Adams Combined School in Pound for a one-of-a-kind performance on Sunday, February 6. Show time is at 2 p.m.

Cirque Mechanics, inspired by modern circus, finds its roots in mechanics and its heart in stories of American ingenuity, wrapped in circus acrobatics, mechanical marvels and a bit of clowning.

See a contortionist perform on a turntable powered by unicyclists. Watch the trapeze artist fly high, thanks to the tricks of an acrobat inside a giant gear-shaped wheel. Marvel as trampoline wall performers defy the laws of physics by flying and walking virtually through the air. Laugh at the antics of the characters, be dazzled by the acro-dance and be enchanted by the story of laughter, love, flight and birdhouses.

Birdhouse Factory toured the United States and Europe for 10 years, inspiring and entertaining audiences and critics everywhere. The New York Times called the show “exceptional, evocative…and hugely entertaining.”

Birdhouse Factory was inspired, in part, by the masterful murals of Mexican-born artist Diego Rivera, the outrageous illustrations of cartoonist Rube Goldberg, and the slapstick humor of Charlie Chaplin’s film “Modern Times.” While these inspirations make Birdhouse Factory artistic, nostalgic and funny, the real essence of the show comes from the circus.

It’s a simple story of daily life in a “widget” factory circa 1935, where the 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 brings the workers together and inspires them to break away from the efficiency and monotony of the assembly line mentality and show their true inner talents and abilities. In the process, they use their bodies and machines to build birdhouses in a less efficient albeit joyous and moving way.

The show delivers a timeless message of hope, camaraderie and the power of the collaborative human spirit in the face of adversity. Although conceptualized before the pandemic and inspired by the Great Depression, Birdhouse Factory addresses the challenges facing industry and workers in unprecedented times. The story is one of imaginative recovery, where humans create magic as they work together towards common goals.

Pro-Art partners with a variety of venues, so those with limited mobility are encouraged to call or email the Pro-Art office to make parking arrangements. For changing conditions related to the global pandemic, severe weather, or similar unforeseen circumstances, customers are encouraged to visit proartva.org or call 276-376-4520 for up-to-date information.

Pro-Art’s mission is to promote the arts and expand accessibility to cultural experiences for residents and students of Wise, Lee and Dickenson Counties and the City of Norton. For more information on planned performance, please visit proartva.org. You can find the Pro-Art association on the social networks @ProArtVA.

General admission tickets are $15 at the door, and all children and students are admitted free. Pro-Art season tickets will be honored for the show. Season passes can be purchased at proartva.orgin person at any salon, or by calling 276-376-4520.

To help reduce the spread of COVID-19, patrons are required to wear a mask for the duration of the show.