The U.S. premiere of Bibi & Bichu’s Circus Abyssinia Ethiopian Dreams is playing at the New Victory Theatre presented by The New 42nd Street from November 29-December 30, 2018.
By Cindy Sibilsky (Broadway World) |
NEW YORK CITY, N.Y.―When one thinks of Ethiopian imports, coffee and extraordinary runners might grace the top of the list but circus artists aren’t usually associated with the sovereign African nation. However, with Circus Abyssinia – an all-Ethiopian contemporary circus company, the brainchild and heart project of a pair of brothers, Mehari “Bibi” Tesfamariam and Binyam “Bichu” Tesfamariam, who are both talented jugglers and global arts entrepreneurs – the world might start to see Ethiopia in a different light. The siblings’ journey to fulfill their dreams reads more like a fairytale or Cinderella story, where the heroes persevere and make magic happen with their unshakable willpower and determination, though not despite many struggles and frustrations on their way to fulfilling their dreams.
It is almost unheard of for a company only a year and a half old to find themselves in the most coveted spotlight on the world’s stage – the bright lights of 42nd Street at the New Victory Theatre – the most prestigious place for international performances geared towards kids and families situated in the very heart of Times Square. But while the company (along with many of its exceptional performers) is still young, these charming African gentlemen have been building this empire for most of their lives and are now making Ethiopian Dreams – the show’s title -come true for every other African child ambitious enough to dare to desire to run away with the circus.
The current production features eighteen acrobats and circus arts specialty performers, each one of them extraordinary, who enact classic circus arts (hand vault, hula-hoop, juggling, clowning, contortion, Icarian Game, Rolla Bolla, aerial, acrobatics and Chinese pole) in the contemporary style (where street clothes tend to replace sequins and simplistic to bare-bones sets with lush lighting in lieu of a three-ring tent and bright lights are favored) with a distinctly Ethiopian and African cultural quality. But those expecting to see visual representations from The Lion King or ancient African pageantry may be disappointed – for the brothers and company Circus Abyssinia are aiming to portray not an archaic expression of African culture but the modern people of Addis Ababa, which might as well be Brooklyn. The uniquely African aspect is more internal than outward – the cornerstones and vision behind their mission for Circus Abyssinia are far from self-serving. Rather, it is altruistically rooted in family, community, giving back and uplifting Ethiopia as a nation whilst aiming to shape its future, one acrobat at a time.
When speaking to the Tesfamariam brothers – Bibi and Bichu – after the show, the most resonating feelings they exuded was that of gratitude, immense passion, joy and absolute devotion to their craft, country and community. In addition to that, they are utterly articulate, charming and charismatic – something that comes across brilliantly in their performance but even more so in their personal interactions which seems to be a clear source to their success, something they casually credit to “luck.”
Continue reading Circus Abyssinia: Ethiopian Dreams come true in NYC at Broadway World
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