Three Ring is a theatrical event that merges circus, theater, dance, and performance art. It is constructed from fragments of sanity, obsession, and love as told by five inmates in an insane asylum for circus performers. They are lost souls who are uncertain about who they are and how they got there. They may or may not be spirits, inpatients, or doctors. Circus, public speaking, and storytelling explode into a vacuum of lies that question the role of spectator/voyeur in live performance.
The original script is written around three formal frameworks: circus acts, dialogue/action that advance the story directly, and confessional speaking at microphones that connects the story and circus acts to a broader understanding of the impact of the piece. The story is simple: five inmates in an insane asylum for circus performers have killed their care giver. Throughout the piece we discover, with the characters, their case histories, circus skills, and what actually happened to cause the death of their care giver.
With Three Ring the audience will have the opportunity to witness things that go beyond the notions of traditional theater, whether it is a balancing act usually found in circus performance or a character confessing his secrets, starkly lit at a microphone. These dream representations of ourselves act as a mnemonic for the audience’s own sense of humanity, of fragility. Three Ring is very much about our vulnerability as humans to emotion and psychological disturbances. Through the experience of watching the production there should be an interconnectedness that comes through between performers and viewers. A shared sense of awe at the world and how complex it has gotten – a wonder about what might make it better – an insight into our own feelings about society, institutionalization and the beautifully crafted body moving in space.
Written and directed by Peter S. Petralia
Original music composed by Max Giteck Duykers
Lighting design by Rebecca M.K. Makus,
Three Ring was originally developed as part of the HERE Artist Residency Program at HERE Arts Center in New York City and premiered at Walkerspace in New York City in 2003.