In her last show P.P.P. the juggler Phia Ménard worked with ice — a substance that couldn't be held and that couldn't be dropped, and that would, slowly, change its state if left untouched; a substance that was 'unjuggleable'.
Performed by four men who will travel the sweat spectrum from dry to damp to sodden in the course of the gruelling 60 minutes they spend under the public eye, Un Loup Pour L'Homme's Face Nord is presented as a series of games or exercises meant to test the physical limits of the group onstage — asking more and more of them until, inevitably, they fail.
An off-kilter, sloping trapezoid, broad and low ceilinged, the white chamber of Les Fuyantes is a place where physical space loops, where gravity upends or bifurcates, and where time halts, stretches and snaps.
'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.
'It's not very interesting for the audience to just watch a female character having her own identity crisis, but it takes on another dimension when it comes to wider questions: Who am I? How does my environment affect me? In what sense am I an 'identity'? How do people perceive me?'
In Miroir, Miroir a suspended aerial mirror is the stage for Mélissa Von Vépy’s work on identity, the unknown, and the symbol of the looking glass. Here she talks about the making of the piece.
Going in for the finished version of Circuits Fermés at Auch’s Festival Circa I’d seen it twice before as a twenty-minute presentation, and was stuck with this idea that it was like an opus of juggling études.
Last night, during Le Jongleur, Festival Nez Rouges’ penultimate show, I spent some time wishing Nikolaus the juggler would juggle more. Ten minutes into tonight’s festival finale, I am already wishing that Les Acrostiches would juggle less.
Le Jongleur is performed for the first time tonight by soloist Nikolaus-Maria Holz, whose CV includes a stint in Archaos and teacher of clowning at top French circus schools Châlons-en-Champagne and Rosny-sous-Bois.
'It's still a tent festival, with chapiteaus by the river, in car parks, hunched low outside the gates of Auch's towering cathedral, at the head of the Parc du Couloume – among the life of the town.'
Sideshow visits the Southern French town of Auch for Festival Circa, a nine-day programme of student and professional work, and one of the big events on the contemporary circus calendar.
As the audience files into the chapiteau, Compagnie Ea Eo are seated at the front of the stage: four young men, dressed casually, slouching a little, watching the influx of people as if from a park bench – as if it all has nothing to do with them.
I think I've watched enough physical/visual work now that the concepts of narrative and character have become fully detachable from my understanding of theatre. But, still, you put something else in place: rhythm or formal patterning or just an element of raw, pulsing narrativity that can come from the drama of technical material or the intrinsic communicative power of a moving body.
Baguettes, coats, bags of onions, wicker hampers, a double-headed broom, a picture book, coffee cups and saucers, spoons, plastic funnels, cardboard boxes – everything can be juggled, everything will be juggled in Les Apostrophés' lengthy and exhaustively inventive Cabaret Désemboîté.
'And we need a tent, a little tent, because we want to present the work in a real proximity with the public – putting them close to tragic sensations, and to fear, and all the sensations we can find in the traditional circus. Theatre now is more in the head, and we try to find physical sensations in the public, letting them react to what happens here on stage.'
A striking show at Festival Circa 2010, Théâtre d'un jour's L'Enfant Qui... is an oblique, ethereal portrait of an ill child, inspired by the early life of the sculptor Jephan de Villiers. Here Jephan and Théâtre d'un jour director Patrick Masset talk to Sideshow about their collaboration.
A boy with a shaved head padding over fine soil. Big coat, big glasses. Big, curious, unblinking eyes. He crawls forward on his stomach and watches visions of giants who climb the trees of the forest and work inscrutably. At first they ignore him, but when a spitting, terrible seizure comes he is lifted bodily in the air, his small feet grasped and made to stamp at nothing.
The press copy would have it as the sound of uncorked and irruptive champagne, or of a hissing fuse, but where it's voiced in the production the title phonetic is always this downplaying, cocky exhalation. It's Not So Great, I Dismiss This, I Dismiss You, I Could Do The Same Thing Better And Easier: Pfffffff.
The simplest premise: one man likes getting wet, the other does not. The stage is a pool of water three feet deep. Begin.
Unquestionably CirkVOST have an excellent wheel. Built from dark metal, two towering rings are joined by an intricate tangled network of ropes, pulleys and looping bars. Old hanging lights cast their glow in the centre; a dark plane of netting stretches the bottom.
On the Avenue de l'Yser, just past the laundrette, just before the MacDonalds, down the light slope of a stony drive, movement catches the eye. At first its the black, many-headed silhouette of an active crowd, but then, behind and above, there's a flowing contour of red and white, like the underside of a cloud, shapely and iridescent
Ici was my first encounter with Jérôme Thomas, a huge name in circus and new juggling, and it felt as though I'd come too late – that he's an artist who's climbed so high that he's cleared gravity and turns slowly now through outer space, intent on the stars.
It's all about the carrots. In a carrot-driven society where everyone wants more carrots and is not content with the carrots they have, human beings are reduced either to unthinking automatons or to cruelly acquisitive, carrot-hungry Machiavellists.