Communique: An Intimate Circus With Ariel Schmidtke, Strangely, & Local Acts

May 17, 2017

Nearly a year ago, aerialist, acrobat, and contemporary circus performer Ariel Schmidtke premiered an intimate solo show called A Length of Rope. Then she left for Alaska, where she's been refining the piece and preparing for a tour. That tour is underway and Ariel is back in Wilmington to present A Length of Rope again-this time with a fellow performer named Strangely and opening acts by local performers. The highlight of the show is Ariel's rope and trapeze acrobatics that tell the story alongside music and shadow puppetry. 

Description of "A Length of Rope": The show explores the significant choices we come to in life, with a rope and trapeze suspended on opposing sides of each intersection. These two circus apparatuses represent the struggle of choosing between different directions—be it a choice of place, identity, friendship, or love. There is no fourth wall in this show, spectators can see hands tremble from physical exhaustion and some portions are performed among the audience members...The work is innovative; it pushes beyond circus, beyond drama, to a place of intimate connection.

Strangely
Credit Strangely

Strangely, Ariel's touring partner, is a cabaret performer...we're not intended to know exactly what Strangely will do at the performance, but we do know he plays the accordion and other instruments, balances things (on his face), and juggles. There are photos of Strangely playing burning pianos and riding a unicycle but since this is an indoor production---who knows.

A Length of Rope with Ariel, Strangely, and local performers (including the band Dirty White Rags and silks acrobat Alissa Featheroff) is onstage at Theatre Now May 18-21, Thursday-Saturday nights at 10:00pm and Sunday evening at 6:00pm. There is no ticket price; audiences are encouraged to donate according to their pleasure with the performance and their means.

Ariel Schmidtke
Credit Ariel Schmidtke

Shadow puppetry from "A Length of Rope"
Credit Ariel Schmidtke