From New York to Bombay, from Paris to Abyssinia, the Spavaldo brothers performed their flying trapeze daredevil stunts without a safety net for over a quarter of a century before their mysterious disappearance. Now they are back to tell their story and dare audience members to join them inside the big top… high up on the flying platform.
Originally commissioned by the Roundhouse as part of CircusFest 2012, The Great Spavaldos is a 25 minute immersive theatre piece for two people at a time. Fitted with video goggles and headphones and following instruction to a tightly choreographed series of movements, the participants are cast as the central characters in a multi-sensory cinematic experience where they take the roles of circus performers.
The participants follow instructions that match the camera movements to become part of the action itself, allowing them to experience the piece both as audience member and performer. With their eyes and ears completely hijacked, and liberated from any responsibility for the outcome of their actions in the film, participants find themselves fully surrounded by the fictional world of The Spavaldo brothers. As the narrative unravels, this new reality becomes even more immersive through live interactions that engage their sense of smell, touch and movement through space.
The show involves being physically moved in the space and lifted up and onto a swinging trapeze. Whilst in the goggles the participants see themselves on a high platform ready to perform at great heights, ushers are mirroring the feeling of the movements by operating a simple lift system, placing them onto a step, about 10 cm high, and sitting them on a trapeze rigged at less then a meter off the ground.