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"Bumping Into Mr. Ravioli," an essay by Adam Gopnik in the September 30, 2002, issue of the New Yorker, was one inspiration for Flying Griffin Circus's new show, which begins preview performances this weekend. Gopnik's essay is a rather precious account of his three-year-old daughter's very New York problem--an imaginary friend too busy to play with her--complete with precocious quotes from the moppet: "We hopped into a taxi"; "We grabbed lunch." But it could be wonderful as the spark for a story about a little girl on a search that takes her through a circus world where time "not only flies," as the show's promotional material claims, but "juggles, dances, drums, spins, swings, clowns, walks a highwire, and flips." Trudy, the youngster, will be played by 14-year-old Alessandra Stevens, working with a cast that includes "veterans of the world's great circuses" like Lijanna Wallenda Hernandez (of the Flying Wallenda family) and her husband, Tony Hernandez. The show includes a "clownish" but factual physics lesson developed in collaboration with Evanston High School teacher Larry Geni, the germ of another show to come. This is the third production by Flying Griffin Circus, the resident company of the Actors Gymnasium. Previews begin at 7:30 Friday, March 21, and run through March 28 with shows Saturday, March 22, at 7:30; Sunday, March 23, at 2:30; and Friday, March 28, at 7:30 at the Gymnasium, 927 Noyes in Evanston. Preview tickets are $7. The regular run opens with a benefit performance on March 29 that includes a postshow party at Lulu's restaurant; benefit tickets are $50 for adults and $25 for children. The run continues at 7:30 Friday, 4:30 and 7:30 Saturday, and 2:30 Sunday through May 18 (though there's no Saturday matinee on the 29th); tickets are $10. Call 847-328-2795.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/William Burlingham.

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