Hand to Hand
Pairs acrobatic discipline where the flyer balances and does somersaults on the base's hands. Like all doubles disciplines, hand to hand invites romantic narratives, from the synthetic trad variety that always seems to get a Clown at Monte Carlo, to the realer and more ambiguous relationships presented (suggested) by contemporary practitioners.
At a first encounter, the characters of Box of Frogs all feel like they’re about ten years-old. Kaveh Rahnama talks constantly and inconsequentially about his mania for collecting circus-themed toys and knick-knacks, shouting with delight when Amazon finally deliver his King Tusk elephant and enthusing how this proud and mighty creature is (brilliantly) equipped with a foot strop to secure its plastic rider — an innovation without precedent in the history of toy manufacture.
'In Finland we did the very, very first show and we had these Finnish lumberjack guys crying afterwards because it connected to them as 50 year-old lumberjacks; one guy came to me after and he was crying and saying, ‘This is something that... that really wants to say something’. It’s amazing, to have a circus show that connects to men who are like 50+ lumberjacks. How do you get beneath the surface of that person, the shell of that person, and touch him?'
John Ellingsworth talks to Olle Strandberg, director of the runaway success Undermän, about autobiography, circus texts, the affinities of circus and street dance, working for Cirkus Cirkör, and having to start over after you've lost everything.
'A squally clouded-over day, then, to accompany the revival of Greenwich Fair, a hoary old tradition in Greenwich Park which, until it was banned a century and a half ago, annually saw the erection of open-air markets, lurid theatres, bandstands, fairground rides, penny shies, and insalubrious premises (licensed and unlicensed), to accommodate a sudden competitive influx of entertainers, musicians, hawkers, and exotic beast-tamers—plus of course the roiling crowds of audience/punters/buyers/marks who came to be amused by the dreadful melodramas, fleeced by the mountebanks, and psychically obliterated by liquor.'
A round-up of the action at Greenwich + Docklands Festival 2011, with work by Acrojou Circus Theatre, Elastic Theatre, Company FZ, and others.
There's a certain kind of imagery that's the imagery of the photoshoot. Objects are cut in for colour or to create visual friction – you know the sort of thing: putting a pale, fey model in boxing gloves, or situating a burly thug on the tiny horse of a bleached-out, ruined carousel.
If you were of a mind to, you could perhaps identify two dominant movements in contemporary circus. Both are about that ridiculous word 'truth'. Where is the truth? Where is the essence?
Played out on a raised square stage that tilts in all directions (slowly) as performers move their weight across it, Öper Öpis is the latest collaboration between clown Martin Zimmermann and DJ Dimitri de Perrot, featuring also a small assembled cast of European circus talents.
It’s not actually that rare—not so rare—to find narrative in circus, at least not the kind that plays on theatre stages, but it is quite unusual to see contemporary circus that engages in explicit, linear storytelling.