Big Laughs Without the Big Top at BRMS
Lisa Lou brings her One Woman Circus to Chester.
There was plate spinning, rope spinning, juggling, magic, and cotton candy all in the cafetorium of the Black River Middle School. No, it wasn’t to celebrate pizza day during school lunch, but rather a One Woman Circus show put on by Lisa Lou on Jan. 28 that was sponsored by the Chester Borough and Township Recreation Departments.
“We had a good turnout, mostly preschool through 3rd grade children with their parents and grandparents,” said volunteer Heather Ronco, who helped make cotton candy and dole out the free refreshments provided by Bounce Around and the rec department. “Lisa Lou did a fantastic job.”
Lou is no stranger to the area, having performed at the Science Fair annually for nearly a decade. That show, which focuses on chemistry and uses illusion and circus acts to highlight science wonders is different from the One Woman Circus. Her unique combination of circus stagecraft and magic has made Lou a success over the years. The One Woman Circus, however, is an altogether different show. "The short version is that the show is a combination of performances and skills that I have developed over the years that I want to share with the audience," said Lou, who has worked with Wringling Brothers and the Big Apple Circus to name a few. “Every one of my shows has a lot of general zaniness.”
"We've seen Lisa Lou perform four times now, and each time she has some new material. I love her blend of circus, magic and science,” Janet Gerber said. “My favorite part was the waterfall effect. An illusion that caused the audience to see Lisa's head grow larger, and then smaller."
One of the big differences with the One Woman Circus is the level of participation the audience gets that they won’t get anywhere else. “She did a great job incorporating audience participation into the show,” Ronco said. “My favorite part was when she had seven children spinning plates on sticks at the same time.”
The performance drew over 175 and is part of the recreation departments goal to help families slow down spend some quality time with each other.
“It was a thrill for me to see kids walk into the cafetorium with eyes wide with delight at the sight of cotton candy and fresh popped popcorn, and then to see their smile widen even more as they find out it is for free,” said Maxine Finney who is the Recreation Director for both Chester Township and Borough. “Chester Borough Recreation and Chester Township Recreation have always worked well together and we’ve always known that joining efforts allows us to create more quality programs for our entire community.”
For her part, Finney couldn’t be happier with the work she is doing. “ I want my love of Chester to shine through in everything I do and am thrilled to have the opportunity to be rec director for both municipalities.”
Judging by the reaction of the crowd at Black River Middle School, mission accomplished. "It was amazing when she balanced the ladder on her chin,” Eight-year-old Julie Gerber said after the performance. “How did she DO that!"