The Circus of Vices and Virtues 2003:
March 21–April 12, 2003 at the Brooklyn Lyceum
Act: “Pride” (aka Helda at the Office—The New Job)

EDITOR’S PICKS: By Jonathan Kalb, Hunter Online Theater Review ( All intelligent people craving a springtime dose of circus should head for Cirque Boom’s wonderful new “vices and virtues” piece . . . . This show, directed by Ruth Juliet Wikler, is a unique fusion of real ideas and big-top spectacle, marrying trapeze, rope dancing, tumbling, stilt-walking, and clowning with politically tinged satire in the spirit of the German Karl Valentin and the Russians Bim and Bom. The dead-on skit called “Pride,” performed by a fantastic young clown named Anna Zastrow, is alone worth the trip. Just GO.

Additional off-the-record comment by Mr. Kalb:
Anna Zastrow deserves an award for that performance as [Helda]. It was brilliant.... “JAAAACK” has now become a frequent expression around our house.

Paulanne Simmons, The Brooklyn Papers:
Inspired both by the work of the 16th-century Flemish artist Pieter Brueghel—who infused his paintings with allegorical, sometimes sinister, meaning—and the events of Sept. 11, 2001, and the societal tensions that have followed, Cirque Boom artistic director Ruth Juliet Wikler has used the world of clowns, aerial artists, and acrobats for political satire and social commentary . . . . Two of the most successful segments are “Lust,” in which Melissa Riker has choreographed her own graceful performance on what Wikler calls an “aerial fabric loop,” and “Pride,” Zastrow’s hilarious portrayal of an aspiring corporate executive who turns from a timid clown into a virago with a whip.

Abby Ranger, Brooklyn Free Press:
In “Pride,” a clown called Helda (Anna Zastrow), starts as a meek, paper-pushing drone and evolves by increasingly absurd, funny stages into a rabid, whip-cracking workaholic.

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BRIC Studio’s Ample Sample
June 2004

Lori Ortiz,
In a hilarious performance, clown Anna Zastrow of Cirque Boom plays a bumbling ‘Associate Assistant’ who becomes a whip brandishing dominatrix when finally promoted.

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The Lysistrata Project
March 3, 2003 at BAM
“Anna Banana”

Go Brooklyn:
. . . Cirque Boom’s crafty clown Anna Banana stole the show. Using a strategically placed balloon pump, Banana’s on-stage construction of the menfolk’s air-filled members netted roars from the audience.