It’s Not Me, It’s You is a contemporary re-telling of the story of Milton’s Paradise Lost through the lens of a circus show. Using a combination of aerial apparatuses, tumbling, juggling, mime, and physical theater, Yes Ma’Am Circus tells this story of fallen angels with a focus on themes of relationships and emotional fallout.
In Milton’s Paradise Lost, the angel Lucifer rebels against the structure of Heaven and is cast out, leaving the other angels confused and worried. In Yes Ma’am’s retelling a narrator provides the audience with the story’s context and four performers portray Heaven’s angels Michael, Lucifer, Azazel, and Uriel. Each angel has their own distinct personality that reveals itself not only through the story but through each performer’s circus acts as well.
Michael is confident and arrogant, and first appears wearing a cape, sunglasses, and a hat adding a little modern comedy to this age-old story. Lucifer is conniving, and deceptive, slithering stealthily around the stage. Azazel is nervous and jittery, her movements quick and twitchy, while Uriel is a calmer presence, her movements graceful and smooth.
The characters interact with one another through choreographed weight sharing and partnering telling the story of conflict and Lucifer’s banishment from heaven. Lucifer’s lyra solo, the lyra representing the gates to heaven, is full of desperation and hopelessness as she hangs from the hoop unwilling to fall into the depths of hell.
Each character performs an acrobatic act that feeds seamlessly into the plot. From Uriel and Azazel’s mesmerizing and supportive aerial silk duet, using each other as a base to climb high towards the ceiling, to Azazel’s aerobic and strong aerial rope routine, spinning quickly with only her arms to support her, and Michael’s energetic gymnastic routine tumbling across the floor, each character’s personality comes out during the routine while also driving the plot forward.
Yes Ma'am Circus Leads with Humor
Humor is also an important element in It’s Not Me, It’s You. Mime and physical comedy are used to make light of the more serious religious story. (SPOILER ALERT!) At the climax of the show, a battle between Michael and Lucifer’s becomes a dance-off to techno music and flashing disco lighting.
It’s Not Me, It’s You continues through August 12.
Cast and Production Team:
Maggie Karlin, Athena Giles, Amancay Kugler, Myriam Bloom, Matthew Kugler, Alex Avery, Ben Polson
August 9, 10 and 11 8:00 PM
August 11-12 2:30 PM
2936 N. Southport Ave.
Photos courtesy of Yes Ma’am Circus.