Big Apple Circus: Good Works, Good Fun

Kim Winslow entertained partygoers with fantastical bubbles of extraordinary shapes and sizes. Durell Godfrey

The bubbles were flowing, and so was the laughter, as performers from the Big Apple Circus's Clown Care Unit delighted partygoers at Mary Jane and Charles Brock's house in East Hampton on Sunday.

The entertainment was a sampling of the good medicine the artists administer on "clown rounds" to pediatric hospitals and treatment centers around the country, one of nonprofit circus's several community outreach efforts. Ms. Brock is the vice chairwoman of the Big Apple Circus. 

As the party drew to a close, the clowns climbed up on stilts, then led a procession down Main Street to Guild Hall, where some of the stars of this year's Big Apple show, "Metamorphosis," gave a preview performance at 5:30 p.m. The circus artists had come together for the first time for rehearsals just two weeks earlier. The afternoon served as an introduction to the good works and good fun of the circus and a benefit for both Big Apple and Guild Hall.

"Metamorphosis" is directed by West Hyler. Guillaume Dufresnoy is the circus's artistic director and Lynn M. Stirrup is its executive director. "Metamorphosis" previews in Virginia in September and opens for a three-month run at Lincoln Center on Oct. 17.  A full schedule, a list of benefit shows, and details about the circus's other outreach efforts can be found at bigapplecircus.org. 

A very tall Lisa Lou, left, juggled, balanced on a ball, and did lasso tricks. Tanya Turgeon juggled before climbing up on stilts of her own.Durell Godfrey
Instead of the big top, Mary Jane and Charles Brock's house and garden were the backdrop on Sunday. Durell Godfrey
Philippe Petit, a high-wire artist known for his 1974 walk between the Twin Towers, with Mary Jane Brock, Rick Mayberry, the circus's chairman, Dee Mayberry, and Kathy O'DonnellDurell Godfrey
That guy? Kim Winslow is on the left; Peter Strauss, a k a Dr. Petey, is on the right with his extendable tickling feather.Durell Godfrey
Tanya Turgeon led a group from the Brocks' house to Guild Hall.Durell Godfrey
Dr. Petey greeted kids outside Guild Hall.Durell Godfrey
Watch out audience, Francesco (Francis Brunaud), just might ask one of you to don a veil and bells or do a silly dance. He is back with the Big Apple Circus this year after previous shows in 1999, 2002, and 2006.Carissa Katz