LAST CHANCE CIRCUZ
Founded by Jacob Mills and John Szostek. Later joined by Ken Raabe and Naavab Fisher. Described in Chicagoland Magazine as “a theater of movement and energy. (Their) mask characters playfully reveal human idiosyncrasies in a structured but improvised manner.”
A Hawaiian Lei-A True Story
Jacob and John were hired once to perform their Last Chance Circuz walk-around act at a fundraiser for AIDS victims entitled “A Hawaiian Lei” at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago. There were a lot of stage acts as well on the great Aragon stage. The ballroom was packed. Halfway through the night, the producer of the event approached us and asked if we could help him out. He explained that he had hired a duo act for the stage, and one of the duo members had his flight from Detroit canceled, and he could not make the show. The producer said, “Could you fill in for the absent member?” We said, “Sure, anything to help. What’s the act?” He said he’d let the other member explain the act and called him over. “Guys, this is Atlas. He is half of a dwarf wrestling act.” True enough, Atlas, billed as the Strongest Man in the World was a dwarf. There he stood in his superhero-style body suit, complete with a cape. We took this twist in stride and asked Atlas what the act was. Atlas explained they wrestled to Dueling Banjos, a two-minute ten-second musical frenzy. The action was equally fast-paced and used the typical theatrical style of wrestling; tumbling, throws, acrobatics, whirlwinds, and body slams. We worked out how we could integrate into the act as Atlas vs. a Clown version of an Australian Tag Team. This included Atlas lifting each of us over his head, spinning around, and throwing us to the ground. The finale had John going up on Jacob’s shoulders for a Two-High, John standing on Jacob’s shoulders. Jacob walked toward Atlas. Atlas ran up to us, kicked Jacob in the shin, and backed off. Jacob pretended to lose his balance, wobbling back and forth. John lept forward into the air, hitting the ground hands first and going into a forward roll, somersaulted, and stood up facing Atlas. Atlas picked him up over his head and threw him down, then went up to the hobbled Jacob, picked him up over his head, and threw him on top of John. Atlas planted one foot on Jacob’s back and raised his hands in victory.
Duck Pond Ballet at Chicago City Hall