Laura Kussman/contributed photo                                Above: Jake Perrine and Grace McCune are presenting “Cirque-US” at Orcas Center.

Laura Kussman/contributed photo Above: Jake Perrine and Grace McCune are presenting “Cirque-US” at Orcas Center.

‘Cirque-US’ brings the Orcas community together

by Robert Hall

Orcas Center

Grace McCune’s Rock on the Rock choir is one of the most important theatre productions we have on Orcas Island. On May 23, the choir opens with its newest production “Cirque-US,” bringing a level of artistic engagement to our small town that is invaluable – even priceless.

McCune started the choir in 2008 with 15 adults and 20 children. Now, with the addition of Jake Perrine in 2010, the choir has grown to more than 54 adults and over 40 children, including several more dancers, the silks classes and many other community volunteer supporters.

This grassroots production has grown and reaped a communal bounty no one can deny. People from all walks of life (most of whom have never been on stage) gather here under one roof to laugh, cry, sing, dance, and perhaps most of all, to grow. With the youngest of 4 years to a good age of 80, year after year, everyone gets their heartstrings plucked in a drumbeat of connection. Friends, family, neighbors and strangers, all tune in together to share this special taste of magic with a community we all love.

There have been other productions in the past that have been stellar, even unforgettable. We all have those shows we are unable to forget; incredible productions with completely sold-out shows, great acting and good directing with loads of community members, and we’ve loved those experiences as well. But, this show is different. It’s unique. It’s the culmination of a 10-year ongoing series of shows all built here from the ground up – with no script.

What this show does for our culture here on Orcas is beyond measure. It connects us. If community theater is where the heart of theater is, this show is at the heart of this community. This is grassroots “artivism” and it is the most important theater there is. By us, about us, for us. It is the stuff most theaters can only dream of. Heartfelt and fun. Beautiful and thoughtful.

Orcas Center presents “Cirque-US” May 23-June 8 at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at