Posts Tagged ‘circa

01
Feb
18

Flowstate

 

Flowstate – What’s Flowstate?

No, it’s not the latest facial scan digital technology used to capture actors’ features for use in films requiring the actor’s face to appear on the bodies of her doubles to achieve the illusion of a perfect triple axel performed by the actor herself…

 

 

Flowstate is a 3000sqm interim-use, creative pop-up repurposing the Arbour View Café precinct in the heart of the South Bank Parklands, designed by specialist Australian architecture and performance design firm Stukel Stone.

 

Flowstate comprises three distinct zones: a grassy relaxation zone, immersive digital art installation JEM by award-winning design studio ENESS and an open-air performance pavilion. Launched on January 29, Flowstate boasts a year-long showcase program of free artistic experiences spanning circus, dance, theatre, music and visual installation. Queensland artists and performers will deliver 20+ free artistic experiences against a panoramic tree-lined skyline, inspiring audiences to contemplate a range of ideas underpinned by a focus on city form.

 

The year-long showcase program is South Bank Corporation’s contribution to the cultural activities happening during the year of the Commonwealth Games. Precinct partners include Queensland Performing Arts Centre and Griffith University, as well as broader partners including UPLIT, Festival 2018, CIRCA and Metro Arts.

 

Participating artists and companies include CIRCA, Dead Puppet Society, Little Match Productions, Elbow Room, The Good Room, Liesel Zink, and Polytoxic. Resident local DJs bring their energy to the precinct every Friday evening. Find them on the Flowstate Green 5.30pm – 7pm.

 

“South Bank Corporation is delighted to unveil Flowstate, and to launch a year-long multi-arts program of free creative experiences marking our contribution to the cultural activities happening across the state during the year of the Commonwealth Games,” South Bank Corporation Chair Dr Catherin Bull AM said. “As a place where ideas about what the city can and will be are explored, Flowstate aims to encourage a vibrant culture of exploration and exchange across the South Bank precinct.”

 

 

The addition of the 3000sqm interim-use site offers South Bank’s 11million+ annual visitors another engaging experience to enjoy in the precinct, famous for its awe-inspiring riverside parklands, Australia’s only inner-city man-made beach, award-winning restaurants and bars and world-class accommodation options. Set against the Parklands’ stunning subtropical backdrop, Flowstate invites both locals and visitors to collaborate with some of Queensland’s most compelling artists, witness new performance work in development, engage in workshops, participate in a robust program of public conversations and engage with a groundbreaking digital installation.

 

Free event highlights include Aura by Queensland’s world-leading performance company CIRCA (06–25 March); Dead Puppet Society’s roving installation Megafauna (04–08 April); Little Match Productions’ all-ages contemporary opera The Owl and the Pussycat (11–15 April); moonlit musical trek Song to the Earth by Corrina Bonshek (16–19 May); and These Frozen Moments by the inimitable The Good Room (21 November–02 December). Complementing Flowstate’s Pavilion performances is an inspiring speaker and workshop series, with special guests throughout the year including Magda Szubanski, Luke Ryan and Margi Brown Ash, plus a weekly resident DJ set every Friday evening on the Flowstate Green.

 

Professional Queensland-based artists are also invited to apply for one of two additional supported residencies, for public work-in-progress showings at Flowstate in December 2018. Submit an online application here

 

“Via Flowstate, we hope to stimulate ideas, questions and maybe even some more answers about what contemporary cities can and should be,” Dr Bull said. South Bank Corporation CEO Bill Delves said Flowstate capsured the ever-changing nature of the South Bank precinct, continuing its 25-year legacy as a “people’s place”. “With the team’s delivery of Flowstate, we continue to sculpt Brisbane’s beloved playground into a magnificent world-leading precinct where local, interstate and international visitors eat, work and play,” Mr Delves said.

 

Find out more about Flowstate here

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23
Dec
17

Humans

 

Humans

QPAC & Circa

QPAC Playhouse

December 6 – 9 2017

 

Reviewed by Analiese & Henry Long

 

The latest production to land in Brisbane from world touring Queensland company, Circa, is a ferocious journey into athleticism and quirkiness.

 

It’s believable that the show might have been inspired by a number of dares and physical games, although that assumption has no base in anything concrete. 

 

Director, Yaron Lifschittz, has asked his ensemble, What does it mean to be human? How can you express the very essence of this experience with your body, with the group, and with the audience? Where are your limits, what extraordinary things can you achieve and how can you find grace in your inevitable defeat?

 

 

Never before have I seen artists actually try to throw themselves at the floor so wholeheartedly. The usual idea is to throw yourself at the floor but cleverly miss it. Nope. These guys are hitting, skimming, bouncing and skidding all across the stage with a thin mat as their only buffer.  Technical Director and Lighting Designer, Jason Organ has kept our attention to this investigation. There is no set and Circa have relied on very clever lighting in this intimate performance.

 

And bodies.

 

The human form is a wondrous thing and the small company of ten artists show it off with gusto. Hand to hand and contortion is explored in countless combinations.

 

I dare you to do it without your legs.

 

What if you are the puppet, and I manipulate you.

 

Can you lick your elbow…?’

 

One of the striking things about this piece is the focus on strength and skill. Of course, we all know and assume the feats shown to us by circus artists are not easy. This production glorifies how difficult it actually is. A real gutsy display of strength with all the sweat and strain is magnified for us here.

 

Static trapeze was interestingly used more as a compliment to the rest of the action onstage.

 

 

Humans didnt appear to have a musical theme to connect the individual acts. Perhaps it was to reflect the different musical preference and taste among these Humans. It is frenetic, wonderful strings, an old standard, a motivational theme song and techno pop. Funny, sensual, inquisitive, the artists played with it and carried the audience along regardless.

 

Libby McDonnells costumes were complimentary to the action and certainly complimented the wonderful bodies onstage. Good use of a theme created an individualised ensemble.

 

Created by Yaron Lifschitz and the Circa Ensemble

Performed by Caroline BaillonMarty EvansScott GroveKeaton Hentoff-KillianBridie HooperTodd KilbyNathan KnowlesCecilia MartinDaniel O’Brien and Kimberley O’Brien

11
Apr
16

When One Door Closes

 

When One Door Closes

La Boite Theatre Company & Circa

La Boite Roundhouse Theatre

April 6 – 23 2016

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward

breathing. running. pink hair swishing. resting. gasping. pink hair running. falling, clumsily. bewildered. resting, but not. unsettled, but not. unwilling. undone. unfinished.

and then the men…

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It’s Nora Helmer (Britannie Portelli), in sweet pink, hot pink and sparkling, sequinned pink. Pretty, and unpredictable, in pink. One day she decides not to settle for less and she’s gone. In unapologetic orange, Hedda Gabler (Bridie Hooper). In bold red that belies every moment of “hysteria”, every insecurity, Miss Julie (Nicole Faubert). Unless you’re well acquainted with the women, or even if you’re well acquainted with the women, these three are any women. Every woman. Everywoman.

Late in the 19th Century they burst on stage and quite literally changed the world. Their presence called into question assumptions about women and their role in male dominated society.

They were of course written by men. They live within the conventions of the well-made play. In a sense they are trying to escape their forms as well as their men.

The circus we make is definitely not a well-made play. Rather it is abstract, shifting, elusive. Meaning occurs for sure but exactly where or how are mysterious.

– Directors, Yaron Lifschitz & Libby McDonnell

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The problem with abstract, shifting, elusive forms is that we are often left dissatisfied by the lack (or mysterious placement) of dramatic meaning, but the real problem here – if we are to discuss openly and honestly (and we do that here) – is that the product doesn’t match up to the sales pitch. It’s not what I expected. And that’s okay but I’m left feeling slightly confused because the production doesn’t do what I thought it said it would. I think I thought wrong… To be fair, the only claim was that the women would meet in a “visceral force of extreme acrobatic theatre.” And they do.

A door slams. A shot is fired. On the other side, unseen by the audience or by the befuddled, inconsequential husband and lovers are the three great heroines who created twentieth century drama: Miss Julie, Hedda Gabler and Nora.

What if they all ended up in the same room?

What if they couldn’t speak?

What if the room was full of scratched recordings of A Dolls House, Hedda Gabbler and Miss Julie, plus a dash of Freud?

How would they navigate each other, their own pasts and the future?

La Boite and Circa join forces on this new creation. Three masterpieces of turn-of-the-century drama meet the visceral force of extreme acrobatic theatre.

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 Circa is one of our country’s most highly regarded contemporary circus companies and at first glance, in this first stage of development (it’s officially a finished product but what is ever really finished?), this work is not nearly as exceptional as we have come to expect from Circa (they raised the bar with Il Retorno), however; presented by La Boite, When One Door Closes is also an experiment, relating the stories of the women – or, their frustrations at least – via varying levels of tension and court jester comedy, through acrobatics and high-risk tricks, some of which are symbolic of what the characters are going through.

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Not always the case, at times the tricks are arbitrary, included in the show because they can be, and executed in such a literal way as to bring out the comical, as when one of the men tips Nora upside down so that she becomes a broom, her hair used to sweep the stage. It’s a strange way to reiterate what we already know; these women exist in service roles only. No wonder they feel as if they’re choking, hanging, dead…

Oonagh Sherrard’s original compositions lead us in and out of the women’s heads, while at times, it’s odd; the men get comical musical numbers to lip-synch for seemingly no reason other than to provide the girls with a drinks break and the audience with an easy laugh. The collective physical strength and sheer force of the men’s presence underlines the power that men have held within each of these women’s lives. Perhaps the David Armand inspired parodies are an attempt to truly balance the stakes. (I love that the women claim their power, hand-balancing in the end, but I hate the male playwrights using “sickness” and suicide and the abhorrent act of leaving the children to do so).

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Hedda has the strongest presence, her chalk outline creating a devastating, enduring image, as she contorts herself to reach all the way around her body. She marks her own end on the glossy black floor. This routine, and the most arresting, disturbing straps routine I’ve ever seen (that’s a good thing; it’s brilliantly conceived and executed), keep Hedda at the centre of the story-not-story, and for me, provide the strongest thread, that is, if we are determined to see one running through the piece.

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If I’d decided not to write it up, I would have viewed When One Door Closes through a completely different lens, enjoying much more than I did on Opening Night, its circus and its comedy, and not needing any further structure or story. But because, perhaps foolishly, we went in with the expectation that this would be circus that was somehow more “theatrical” in its form and nature, my expectations weren’t met. To put it simply, I would have left feeling more satisfied if I hadn’t had to think too deeply about it! This is often a critic’s struggle, and not something general audiences will experience. It’s important to note because my opinion is no more valid than anybody else’s, but because I choose to share it widely I (mostly) feel the need to justify my conclusions. There are times when I simply respond to the work, without looking at it very critically at all, and this style of “review” could be said to be far more valuable to both audiences and artists. In fact, by not discussing the way the different elements work together, we indicate perhaps even more clearly the success of a piece. (Don’t tell that to the Drama students who must master the art of academically arranging their thoughts and assessing the way in which a director has created meaning by manipulating the Elements of Drama).

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Regardless of the reviewer’s style (and we follow those whose style we like, and whose opinions confirm our bias), a considered written response is always a valuable addition to the conversation. A star rating not so much, but easier, certainly, for publicists to use…

It could be reasonably assumed that because this is a circus show it can be sold under a family friendly banner, but I’d advise parents to consider the meaning that (mysteriously) comes across and ask yourself whether or not your child will question, as my child has done, “Which is the husband and which is the lover?” “Does the chalk outline mean she’s already dead or that she’s dead inside?” and “Are the straps the rope she hangs herself with?” And in response to my whisper, “Well, why does she have a straps routine if she shoots herself?”

If you bring children to the theatre, be prepared to discuss the themes and historical contexts of the original texts as well as those within the final work. Always.

(Or, everyone can simply enjoy the sequins and lifts and balances for what they are and avoid talking about anything else).

Circa is more successful than most in its exploration of blurring lines between forms. And with greater theatrical input (Todd MacDonald as Co-Director – or Director – rather than, or in addition to Dramaturg, for example), When One Door Closes might make more creative and contextual sense. Let’s look forward to the company continuing to experiment with form and style.

Without thinking too deeply about it, or expecting too much from it, the first production of La Boite’s 2016 season is perfectly engaging and entertaining. But let’s hope it’s not indicative of all they have to offer this year.

Performers: Nathan Boyle, Todd Kirby, Martin Evans, Duncan West, Nicole Faubert, Bridie Hooper, Brittany Portelli.

Production pics by Dylan Evans

07
Apr
16

When One Door Closes – a quick chat with Circa

 

When One Door Closes opens at La Boite tonight!

Season continues until April 23

 

A door slams. A shot is fired. On the other side, unseen by the audience or by the befuddled, inconsequential husband and lovers are the three great heroines who created twentieth century drama: Miss Julie, Hedda Gabler and Nora.

What if they all landed up in the same room?

What if they couldn’t speak?

What if the room was full of scratched recordings of A Dolls House, Hedda Gabbler and Miss Julie, plus a dash of Freud?

How would they navigate each other, their own pasts and the future?

La Boite and Circa join forces on this new creation. Three masterpieces of turn-of-the-century drama meet the visceral force of extreme acrobatic theatre.

 

In between rehearsals we asked Nathan Boyle and Todd Kilby some STUFF…

 

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Stretch or cardio?

NB: I’m about 75% stretch and 15% cardio. If i had to run away from something, I would be dead… Should probably change that.

TK: A healthy combination.

 

Base or fly?

NB: Base, although there are some times when I fly.

TK: Another deliciously healthy combination. (Middle)

 

Describe your weekly training routine.

NB: Every week is different, but it is generally along the lines of a 9 to 5 day except I don’t work at a desk. The first hour is a warm up. Then we move into skill training/skill development or we work with our Artistic Director. We have an hour break from 1 till 2 for lunch. Then generally have a light warm up and get back to work either working on specific skills or scenes from shows. At the end of the day we have a 30min cool down which we call ‘Body Love’

TK: My training routine will change a lot depending on where in the world I am, how long I have and what shows/skills I am doing. It usually begins with an hour long warm up consisting of some light cardio, stretches, strength and a bunch of co-ordination exercises/games (fun is very important). Then I usually train through the skills that I need to train for a specific show followed by any other skills and ideas that I am keen to learn and explore.

 

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What if not circus? (And how did you come to it?)

NB: I have only ever done circus, So if I was no longer able to be a performer I would love to get into some sort of design. I love architecture but I also have a passion for costume/fashion design. So maybe that?

TK: If not in the circus, I would love to be involved in the worlds of both theatre and music. Working in the creative process and the performance element. I came to do circus when I was 13 through two sources at the same time. One was the guidance of a high school drama teacher and now friend, who ran a circus school and the other was at a Newcastle community circus called ‘Circus Avalon’

 

Favourite place in the world?

NB: Favourite place in the world would be New York.

TK: I don’t have one favourite place as that would be quite rude of me considering that this beautiful planet we are lucky to call home is host to a plenitude of magnificence, but here are three honourable mentions: NEWCASTLE (Home), BERLIN (City of my dreams), Bhutan (Carbon Negative)

 

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What are you reading?

NB: The latest XS Entertainment piece *Wink Wink*

TK: Sombrero Fallout by Richard Brautigan

 

What are you listening to?

NB: I admit, I have the world’s most eclectic and somewhat bad taste in music, I will listen to anything. I basically have Spotify on random and go from there.

TK: Adagio of Spartacus and Phrygia by Aram Khachaturian.

 

Define feminism.

NB: That one gender should not be raised above another, they are both equal.

TK: Feminism – The advocacy for woman’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.

 

Are there commonalities within the roles you play across the stories of Hedda Gabler, Miss Julie and Nora Helmer (A Doll’s House)? 

NB: Yes and no, sometimes I’m a male and sometimes I’m female. It’s all very gender fluid.

TK: Commonalities are everywhere. I am man. I am woman. I am man/woman. I am woman/man. I am control, freedom and support. At one point I am even Hedda Gabler. This may sound confusing but through the dramaturgy of the show roles are free to exchange and create a whole.

 

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Without dialogue, how much of the original stories & characters will we get? What’s the most important thing for us to get?

NB: There is some text, but instead of being spoon fed the plays we have used our physical bodies to encompass the roles of the women and men from the play. It’s quite obvious who the characters are as they are all so different from each other, come to the show with an active imagination and go with it from there.

TK: The characters, you will definitely get. That much is clear. As for the original stories, we have extended beyond them in time and space, whist exploring the thematics of the three plays.

 

What do we need to teach boys (and girls) about the roles of men (and women) in society?

NB: We need to teach everyone this. Each sex can be just as ignorant as the other. Your sex or sexuality shouldn’t define where you stand in society. If everyone is granted the same rights and same social status that question would be redundant. What a world that would be!!

TK: I’m not too sure about the ‘we’ and the ‘need’ in this question, but my view on our roles as human beings extend far beyond just boys and girls and men and women. Let’s just have care and compassion for each other regardless of gender, race, sexuality and religion. Let’s care for this planet. Let’s make people laugh. Xx

 

Directors Yaron Lifschitz & Libby McDonnell

Dramaturg Todd MacDonald

Lighting Designer Jason Organ

Costume Designer Libby McDonnell

Performers Circa Ensemble 

Composer Oonagh Sherrard

 

 

Production pics by Dylan Evans

 

10
Jan
16

Carnival of the Animals

 

Carnival Of The Animals

QPAC, QPAC’s Out of the Box Festival & Circa

QPAC Playhouse

January 9 – 13 2016

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward

It’s a joyous, bubbling show and the performers have lovely skills and I am still staggered by them.

– Yaron Lifschitz, Circa AD

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Circa is renowned for their fine execution of contemporary circus and their sense of fun and exuberance.

Pure joy pervades this delightful production, inspired by French romantic composer Camille Saint-Saens’ Carnival Of The Animals. Since premiering at QPAC’s Out of the Box Festival in 2014 the show has entertained sell-out audiences throughout Australia, France, Chile and Columbia. It returns to QPAC for a few days only this week, with final performances on Wednesday January 13 – book online to secure the last tickets.

Get 4 tickets for just $79 here.

Carnival Of The Animals is perfect school holiday fare, dished up with generous doses of smiles and laughter, suitable for the whole family. For a full day of fun for everyone head to Southbank Parklands, the museum, the galleries and the State Library of Queensland after the show (Performances at 10am & 12pm). There’s always so much on offer and now you can keep up via Culturist, the new app for Brisbane’s Cultural Precinct, which includes interactive maps, lists of events and playlists. Check it out here.

QPAC is chaotic with kids! But in a good way and the excitable energy is contagious. We colour animal mandalas and Poppy insists on sampling the watermelon slushy. So do I…it’s delicious. We have three generations at the show, and Nanny knows the music and we know Circa so we’re well prepared.

The show is bookended by a magical theatrical event that lets us know WE’RE HERE TO SEE A SHOW. A cleverly choreographed opening sees the acrobats appear with suitcases as soon as they are beckoned to busily set the stage. Suddenly we’re in the Big Top where anything can happen. It’s glee inducing magic of the theatre. Sixty minutes later the set is cleverly (magically!) dismantled in a similar sequence to herald the conclusion of the show. No one is disappointed because we’re satisfied with what’s taken place and accept that the performers have adequately – SUPERBLY – done their jobs.

The performers are dressed in exquisitely elegant yet practical and playful costumes of black velvet, brocade and white lace complete with Victorianesque frilled collars (and the red noses of the most recognisable circus clowns). Brightly coloured animated interactive AV designed by Australian Michaela French provides a backdrop of natural habitats and additional characters, prompting our imaginations to take off as penguins chatter and patter over rapidly diminishing ice formations, schools of fish swim faster and faster to escape a shark in the ocean, a beautiful butterfly emerges from its chrysalis and the skeleton of a dinosaur plods off to the forest, which morphs into a jungle in which a thoughtful tiger waits.

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The music is so interesting, completely enchanting – of course you’ll realise you’ve heard it before – and the way the performers use their bodies to show the animals is wonderful. They’ve mastered unique characteristics of animals, isolating and employing different body parts so that each time they transform from one species to another the kids in the audience immediately recognise the creature and call out FROG! FISH! GORILLA! An elephant created by the ensemble cleverly shows the connection and trust between the performers and later, individual elephants take turns to show off their best moves in an urban breakdance challenge.

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The application of slow motion during a leaping and tumbling sequence lifts the comedy element through the roof, with funny facial expressions frozen right up until the moment before each performer takes a real-time dive through a hoop. A series of skipping rope routines begin with the acrobats as kangaroos, impressing all ages, parents probably viewing the daring tricks with some nostalgia, and kids and parents alike gasping in awe at a successful jump rope finale involving the whole company.

In every moment Circa maintains the delightful sense of play that makes their productions so enjoyable for all ages.

An entire sequence involving red balloons and kid-kissing inflatable sharks appears to be included for no reason other than to encourage audience interaction but during the Saturday morning performance we found the balloons and oversized red balls didn’t reach us more than once and settled for watching those in front, in the first few rows in the stalls, having fun with them. One father in particular, unfortunately for his children who have no chance of reaching a bouncing ball before their dad does, is so enthusiastic about this segment that I feel compelled to look around for a partner who will tell him to settle down and let the kids have a go (so I don’t have to), but there isn’t one so rather than send any more judgemental vibes, with some bemusement I celebrate the dad who is a child at heart and hogs the ball, and who is brave enough to take three children to the theatre. 

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Luckily for mums and dads and nannies, it’s easy to take the kids to a show at QPAC, with plenty of underground parking, clean amenities (we tend to take the neat state of our public places for granted until we’ve travelled!), and an abundance of colouring pencils, creature mandalas, popcorn, Poppers, watermelon slices and slushies available in the foyer before the show starts.

Circa offers one of the most innocent, joyful, fun and memorable theatrical experiences for all ages in Carnival of the Animals. Make sure this show is part of your day out this week.

08
May
14

Beyond

 

Beyond

By Circa

Brisbane Powerhouse

April 30 – May 11 2014

 

Featuring Billie Wilson-Coffey, Bridie Hooper, Gerramy Marsden, Kathryn O’Keefe, Paul O’Keefe, Rudi Mineur and Skip Walker-Milne.

 

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward 

 

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This is a strange show. Anything preceded by a voiceover informing us of a dream state is bound to be a little bit strange, right? It’s a license to deviate, to explore new territory, something for which Circa is renowned. This production is a step “beyond”, existing somewhere between a place of waking and dreaming, and just around the corner from Pink Elephants on Parade type nightmares. It’s not scary, though it comes to us from some scary success overseas, our Brisbane season being the Australian premiere. Beyond is the sort of show you just know can’t fail, and yet it might leave you (or you might leave it) feeling a little removed from the action. This is intended because after all, who wants to stay trapped in a weird dream state not knowing for sure whether one is a bunny (or a bear or a wolf!) or a human being?

 

Circa’s collaborative creative process has allowed seven talented performers to explore their animal instincts and human foibles, and to discover new heights – literally – when it comes to some tried and true circus acts, including acrobatics, Chinese Pole and tissu. You know I love tissu and this act comes brilliantly from an unexpected place, fooling us into believing we can all walk right on up – LITERALLY – and do it too! (It reaffirms my thoughts about circus and cabaret revealing the purest forms of performance confidence). There is wonderful joy in so much of what Circa does and too many moments to mention bring the sweetest smiles to faces around us. When Skip Walker-Milne scales a Chinese Pole dressed in a teddy bear suit two sizes too big the act is all clumsy finesse and very, very funny. We hear audience members actually hoot with laughter. When he returns to repeat the act without the comedy it’s also sans bear suit and it draws gasps from the same audience members, in awe of Walker-Milne’s obvious dexterity and strength. To balance this sort of comedy and raucousness with measured doses of tenderness, beauty and superb skill is no mean feat and Beyond is the perfect showcase, in which each of Circa’s performers do just that.

 

Director, Yaron Lifschitz certainly has an eye for the absurd and with design team, Jason Organ and Libby McDonnell, the mood created is so surreal we feel time and space are stretched. We’re reminded that there is nothing beyond the capabilities of our imagination, and we get to bring our own to the table and take part in the dream state created on stage when the performers feed a massive measure of blue silk sea over our heads and all the way up the tiered seating, again shattering the divide between performer and spectator. We have already been confronted by performers stepping off the stage and into the cabaret seating space, engaging in eye contact and what seems to be some sort of dare – go on, respond! Only to see them turn their backs on us and return to the stage space.

 

STRANGE. In a good, bold way.

 

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The wonder and delight on Poppy’s blue-lit face beneath the fabric for that fun, frenzied (yet STRANGELY CALM) moment makes the half-day of waiting in the wind and cold of New Farm Park for this (7pm on a Sunday) show worthwhile. Also, as you’ll know if you were there (anyone not at the Roar game must have been there!), there were roses and sunshine…and the adventure playground! So we had a lovely afternoon and then, when it got too, too, TOO cold downstairs by the river at Watt Bar, we retreated to the warm atmosphere and actual warmth of Bar Alto. How lucky are we to have a show to go to at 7pm on a Sunday, in a truly multi-faceted venue far, far away from the crazy antics of the sports fanatics? (I know, the sports fanatics look at us and go, “Who are YOU callin’ crazy?”). Also, Bar Alto actually offers some of the best pizza, olives and arrancini balls in Brisbane and I have seen the bar staff run off their feet for days and nights on end (this year’s WTF & APAM! OMG!), and I have never seen anyone behind that bar get cranky or even miss a beat. TAKE NOTE MOOLOOLABA ESPLANADE WAIT STAFF! Sigh. Just sayin’, guys. There are times when the big QPAC productions open on a Sunday night, and even on Broadway there are currently four Sunday evening productions running when so many of the theatres stay dark. It’s a school night, after all, so not for everybody, but thanks to Brisbane Powerhouse we have another end-of-the-weekend entertainment option, particularly important over the next few months, historically the busiest for live theatre.

 

Anyway, what Lifschitz, Organ and McDonnell have done with the space is deceptively simple, opening up multiple performance spaces within the Powerhouse Theatre by creating three small stages, each with their own plush red curtain. If it were darker, and sadder, and a little bit stranger again, we might be in a David Lynch film. Yes, you know I’m gonna’ do it. It’s Rebekah del Rio’s Llorando (Crying) from Mulholland Drive. Of course you know it. It’s been haunting you too, hasn’t it?

 

 

But the quirks contained in Circa’s Beyond are more unnerving than disturbing (and don’t worry, there’s nothing tragic and surprisingly, no clunky transitions, just so you know). Anything really oddball is quickly shrugged off with the help of the performers’ fabulous facial expressions and adept comic timing. It means we’re able to connect with them after all, even with the delightfully demanding “Bunnies” in their black and white pumps (probs not quite what you’re actually picturing), even when the line between human being and beast is blurred to such an extent we might fear the chaos for an instant, yes, even in this surreal, half-removed state; we are able to appreciate the superb skill of these artists, who bring us a new brand of circus cabaret. We see a glimpse of something like it under The Spielgeltent each year, but it’s Circa’s sophistication and poise that sets this company apart. (It’s true, Beyond has been seen under The Spielgeltent; this trailer makes it look and feel like a completely different show, thanks to the famous venue and the clever edit for a festival audience!).

 

Now, before you get excited about a new-look Brisbane Festival in 2014 and Cirque du Soleil’s return in 2015 (I KNOW! IT’S TOTEM!), you must venture down the rabbit hole and experience Circa’s Beyond before it disappears. It’s something else entirely, and you’ll kick yourself if you wake up and find you’ve missed it. It finishes on Saturday with two final performances at 2pm and 7pm.

 

Circa is offering a free open training day on Sunday May 18. For details email info@circa.org.au or call 07 3852 3110.

 

 

03
Dec
13

Circa Zoo Showcase

 

Circa Zoo

Judith Wright Centre

Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts

1 December 2013

 
Reviewed by Meredith Walker

 

circa-zoo-showcase-34

 

At last month’s World Theatre Festival 2014 launch, Artistic Director  of Brisbane Powerhouse, Kris Stewart, referred to Brisbane as a circus city. It would seem Ruth Hodgman and Lewis Jones at The Judy agree, with leading Australian contemporary circus group, Circa, having made its home there fro some time.

 

Since 2006, Circa has toured its innovative performances across the globe to critical acclaim. Behind the scenes of its mainstage triumphs, however, is a youth workshop program, and it was its youth performance troupe – Circa Zoo – that was on display last weekend, presenting two shows to an almost full house of supportive audience members, as part of its Training Centre showcase.

 

UpDownUp is an out-the-box style of show, literally, as it features nine nimble performers of various ages emerging from a large box to balance, tumble, flip and manically hula-hoop in a series of gymnastic moves. And while ensemble synchronicity may still be developing, the skill of the young performers is undeniable. Then there is Brink which begins with a single spot-lit dancer as hint of the focussed acts to follow.

 

With lithe movements, performers use the traditions of the circus to impress, particularly through their rope and aerial work. Indeed, the whole show is not so much a circus as a celebration of strength and skill (and balance that would impress any yoga guru).

 

While all performers were given chance to showcase their variety of skills over the Circus Zoo’s 85 minute duration, the show could have been more succinct. Choreography is clichéd at times, however, this suits the comic tones of some routines and the consequential vaudeville flavour is playful and fun. The enigmatic soundtrack, which features both artsy and upbeat remixes of familiar songs is another highlight.

 

Though stripped back in its presentation style, the Circa Zoo showcase revealed plenty of compelling moments.

 

The calibre of talent on show indicates that the future of our circus city is certainly in capable hands.

 




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