Pro acrobats fall hard for Cirque Alfonse’s ‘Timber!’

An acrobat jumps through a saw in Cirque Alfonse’s “Timber!”
An acrobat jumps through a saw in Cirque Alfonse’s “Timber!” Photo provided

The circus is back at Eisenhower Auditorium.

Following a successful performance by Cirque Eloize last season, Penn State’s Center for the Performing Arts will present “Timber!” by Cirque Alfonse at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 8.

The show is based on North American lumberjacks and incorporates axes, saws and logs into acrobatics. Antoine Carabinier-Lepine, one of Cirque Alfonse’s founders, said the show is based on the troupe’s Canadian history.

“We wanted to do a tribute to lumberjacks from Quebec, who were working in really hard conditions during long winters, to show people our heritage and our roots,” Carabinier-Lepine said.

Critics have compared “Timber!” to Monty Python’s famous lumberjack sketch and describe the show as a fun mix of music, humor and acrobatics.

Juggling saws and axes comes with an amount of danger on top of what is normally associated with the acrobatics of the circus. Carabinier-Lepine said the Cirque Alfonse’s members reward of performing “Timber!” on stage is well worth the risk.

“We all started a long time ago in the circus, so we all know each other and how to work together,” Carabinier-Lepine said. “However, it was pretty hard to learn all that juggling and jumping with sharp axes and saws, but the risk is part of the circus and we love it.”

Laura Sullivan, the marketing director at the Center for the Performing Arts, said this is the fourth year of having circus performances in the center’s lineup, and another is already in the works for next year.

Sullivan said “Timber!” has a more folksy feeling than the polished “Cirkopolis” audiences saw last year.

“Don’t think for a minute though that ‘Timber!’ is any less thrilling,” Sullivan said. “These performances are always enthusiastically received and provide great family entertainment.”

“Timber!” will be held the same night as Cirque Du Soleil’s “Dralion” at the Bryce Jordan Center. Sullivan said it’s not ideal for fans to be faced with a choice, but hopes that the multi-night “Dralion” run will not have an impact on the audience for “Timber!”

“It is possible to see both events and get your circus arts fix for the year,” Sullivan said. “In this very active community we are always up against something, whether it is sports, music or other performances.”