Straight lines, mathematics, intersection. Aurélien Bory is a big name in French contemporary circus, and as such an auteur-style director able to undertake large, well-resourced projects: in 2007 a piece with a big ensemble of Chinese acrobats (Les sept planches de la ruse); in 2009 a show whose principle charcater was an industrial robotic arm that used to build factory cars (Sans Objet). As a director he's really a scenographer, searching for visual images and configurations that find beauty in patterning and geometric relationships. The stage, as he says himself, is a space.
"Plan B was the second piece, conceived by Aurélien but directed by Phil Soltanoff, a very uncompromising artist who Aurélien seems to find a big spark with. Yes, it's a slightly different aesthetic from some of his other works, but I think that Aurélien has progressed with every show he's done. It's gotten more complex. It's got more layers to it now. I think Plan B was an amazing step forward: who knows how people will see it now, but 10 years ago people who saw it were very deeply impressed."
Mime Festival directors Joseph Seelig and Helen Lannaghan talk about the six circus shows (and one not-dance show) from January's programme.
'A dancer is dealing more with the body itself or the body in relationship to the floor — the floor is very important in dance. For the circus artists, yes the body is a tool, but it is not really enough — what the circus artist is doing is experiencing the possibilities of the body in relationship to some simple or complex object, or with some simple or complex space. This is exactly why I’m making my shows with circus artists. Of course they are also puppeteers. They are trying to make alive something that isn’t alive; something that is just a rock or piece of wood. I feel really at the intersection of all these forms — circus, puppetry, theatre, dance.'
Amid the bustle of Festival Circa, Compagnie 111 director Aurélien Bory talks to John Ellingsworth about new work Geometrie de Caoutchouc, science fiction and the posthuman, mathematics and art, the attraction of circus, and bodies becoming space.
Like an exhibit in the storehouse of a museum, a dark bulk wrapped in black polythene. The light is low and there is no one to see – no one but us – as the shape beneath the plastic flexes, moving slowly. Cautiously it twists and opens, becomes larger, the sheet stretching to disguise its form.