Sawdust in our veins: Directors’ Notes for “Maestro’s Menagerie”

Now that the dust from the volcano has settled and our performers have been able to fly out of Europe, the cast for the next show at Teatro ZinZanni are busy rehearsing in the tent. Maestro’s Menagerie, ” a mesmerizing melange of trickery and illusion, dreams and divas, music and merriment, guaranteed to beguile the beholder and tickle the palate,” opens next Thursday May 6th. Co-directed by TZ vets Elise “Mo” Durocher and Edouard De Dessus Le Moutier (also known as Eddy of the acrobatic brother  act, Les Castors), Maestro’s Menagerie takes as its subject the circus itself.

Here are the Directors’ Notes from the program. We hope these notes whet your appetite for this new fine feast of fun and tomfoolery at Teatro ZinZanni.


Sawdust in our veins…generations of circus performers following the bandwagon…creating and recreating acts. Here at Teatro ZinZanni we have expanded the Big Top creative process to include a free and loving exchange of ideas…gifts, really… one performer offers another a gesture, a joke, a glimpse into their back story. Suddenly the show vaults forward like a human bullet shot from a cannon.

Maestro’s Menagerie is a powerful example of what happens when our performers share in the variety arts tradition. We mix magic, memory and imagination to create a modern twist on an ancient art form. What happens when a wayfaring troupe of misfits appears on a dark and stormy night? A towering magician, a manipulating humanoid projectile, a serpentine ringmaster, exotic roustabouts and a bullish strongman, the phoenix princess and a flying monkey… Who is this mysterious and mesmerizing Maestro and why is he so interested in the perfect puppet?

We borrow liberally and sometimes shamelessly from the classics, with an aim like a blindfolded knife thrower: from Pinocchio where the puppet maker is really a juggler and the Blue Fairy is really a Blues belter, to Pygmalion where the beautiful statue comes to life, to The Rocky Horror Show, where we are all wild and untamed things. And we add a dash of opera as our Italian Mama draws artists and audience together under one velvet spiegeltent by conjuring up tonight’s Feast of Love.

Tonight, we conjure the spirits of generations of circus performers to come and play in our spiegeltent. Welcome to the menagerie!

–       Elise “Mo” Durocher & Edouard De Dessus Le Moutier

Directors, Maestro’s Menagerie

Cirque De Dessus Le Moutier

Bijou Auguste


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