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Seth Hunter Koproski: Cirquest

Seth Hunter Koproski is not afraid to blur the boundaries between artistic disciplines. He has lived in Ithaca for seven years, in which time he has worked as a graduate lecturer at Cornell and built relationships and began collaborating with local artists.

In October 2023, he was awarded a CAP SOS grant to continue his series of stage performances called “Cirquest,” an exciting blend of circus, theatre, and puppetry at this summer's Hupstate Circus Festival, a multiple-day festival in Ithaca featuring performances by dozens of circus artists from all over North America. In 2022, Koproski directed 'The Fighter's Tale', a fifteen-minute section of the show featuring circus artists based out of Circus Culture and the work of local shadow puppeteers."

The SOS grant is helping Koproski take Cirquest to a more serious place. He says, “An overarching goal is certainly more emotional depth and refinement-- the first Cirquest was very lighthearted and intentionally so, but I think the show can go to more emotionally involved places while keeping the fun and joy of the circus artform.”

Koproski credits his love of fantasy video games in inspiring Cirquest. Nintendo’s Zelda series, for example, is known for blending different aspects of the art world from playing magical instruments to donning shapeshifting masks as it walks the player through its rich, mythic storylines.

Photo Credit: Amy CohenCirquest seeks to create something similar with the addition of puppetry, circus, and our local community of puppet and circus artists. He is also introducing a strong participatory element from the audience. Koproski states, "The overarching  structure of Cirquest has the audience vote on which performers they want to see perform their acts, and this is designed so that the audience has a 'buy-in', they have to make a choice that affects the media in front of them the audience and must deal with their regret or satisfaction with that choice, much like video games which require input from their players. Theater often seems to have an awkward and cranky relationship with new technologies, but these games have been part of my artistic and personal ethic since I was young.”

You can see Cirquest live at the Hupstate Circus festival all around Ithaca this summer. Stay tuned for dates!

Check out Seth's Cirquest instagram page

(Right Photo Credit: Amy Cohen)

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