Family Night at Cragin Library features ‘Matica Circus’

By Kevin Hotary - Staff Writer
Colchester - posted Mon., Jul. 18, 2011
Joel Melendez and Heidi Kirchofer of Matica Circus performed at the Cragin Memorial Library on Thursday, July 14. Photos by Kevin Hotary.
Joel Melendez and Heidi Kirchofer of Matica Circus performed at the Cragin Memorial Library on Thursday, July 14. Photos by Kevin Hotary.

“What is the magic of the circus?” asked a faint voice from a sea of young children filling the floor of the Cragin Memorial Library conference room.

“I think it’s you guys laughing,” replied Heidi Kirchofer. She and her partner, Joel Melendez, had just finished their program as “Matica Circus” (www.maticaarts.com), a program comprised of nearly nonstop juggling, acrobatics, unicycle-riding and balancing feats geared to entertain young kids and their parents. 

The Matica Circus show, held on Thursday, July 14, was the latest in the weekly Family Night at Cragin program, which is in its second year. Running for 10 weeks throughout the summer, Family Night at Cragin is held at 7 p.m., every Thursday through Aug. 25.

“This way, parents know that every Thursday night there is going to be something at the library,” said children’s librarian Karen Giugno, who organized the weekly program. The evening start time is to accommodate working parents, who can come to the library after dinner with their children for a little no-cost entertainment, which in addition to acts like Matica Circus and the Robert Rivest Mime Theater, also frequently features family-friendly movies. A complete schedule is available at www.colchesterct.gov/Pages/ColchesterCT_Dept/CML/Newsletter.pdf.

Based on the turnout for Matica Circus, the family night program looks like a great success, as the room was filled to near capacity, with the kids sitting three or four deep on the floor, getting a close-up view of the performers, and even taking part in a few of the routines.  

“The kids tell us what to do,” said Kirchofer, who interacts with the audience throughout the show, while Melendez remains silent, using facial expressions and his acrobatic skills to communicate with the children. At one point in the show, Melendez pretends to be unconscious from an acrobatic fall, while Kirchofer asks the kids what they should do to wake him up. Once “tickling” is suggested, they all tickle Melendez, and he is quickly revived, one of the many points in the show drawing the laughter that, according to Kirchofer, is the magical force driving Matica Circus.


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