CircaPhotos - Atmosphere Photography

It is such a glorious thing that Brisbane is fortunate enough to have an internationally renowned, award-winning and critically acclaimed performing arts ensemble such Circa call our city home. To be able to see the inspirational group of circus and physical theatre artisans, as lead by Artistic Director Yaron Lifschitz, in the intimacy and relaxed space of the Judith Wright Centre as they perform their self-titled work Circa, is truly a pleasure.   

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the unique amalgam of circus, dance, acrobatics, visual and physical theatre that is Circa, then what you should expect to experience are the thrilling highs and tender lows as performers Nathan Boyle, Jessica Connell, Daniel Crisp, Casey Douglas, Brittannie Portelli, Kimberley Rosi and Billie Wilson-Coffey plunge, extend, risk, cavort, fly, entwine (the list of verbs could go on forever) their bodies and only their bodies as the core medium. Occasionally they use circus apparatuses as an extension of their bodies but this only adds to the stakes, the emotive power and the hold they have over the audience as a new layer of exquisite tension and spectacle is introduced.

The performance plays out like a series of physical vignettes, each scene accompanied by a deliciously chosen musical piece (or silence, the gaps between bodies connecting with each other or the tarkett floor, or the breath of the performers). This is further heightened by the stunning lighting effects by designer Jason Organ.

Circa begins with a male ensemble member hurling his body across the stage, the impact as he hits the floor coupled with sound and lighting instantly grabbing the audience. He wrestles and writhes as though partially possessed through a series of contorted yet somehow fluid physical positions. The music builds and a new ensemble member enters, and another sequence of similar yet unique choreographed actions begins. The energy is electric and the audience gape and giggle at this group of renegade gymnasts as they perform their highly sophisticated yet demented routine on speed. Pace shifts, physical scenes morph and transcend, comedy and light-hearted moments play out as the shortest member of the ensemble does all she can to increase her height without aids. She jumps, stands on tiptoe and pulls her male counterpart down until he produces a lolly. He dangles the snake and in brother-sister interplay the scene continues to our delight. Almost at the end of the performance and a male performer lies on his back waiting in the middle of the stage. A female ensemble member enters in glittering red high heels and confidently takes her position standing on top of the passive male's chest. He now forms the base/compliant platform for a series of partner balances the two manoeuvre through in some sort of kinky cool circus fantasy.       

The highlight for the evening (for me) was the sequence that if not all, then almost the entire ensemble performed. A song by Sigur Rós, gentle guitar awash, steady pulsating percussion, and a repetitive sustained vocal visually wedded to the hypnotic and twisting projection of a filmic kaleidoscope of ink blot like images enveloping the space and the bodies of the Circa performers as they transitioned from one divine balance, tumble, into another rapturous more extreme balance. As the audience, you could choose to focus on just the one breathtaking visual or soft focus on the whole stage to drink in the celestial scene of bodies and shadows while your emotions dip and dive with the performers and the music. A visceral experience one rarely is privileged to, masterfully orchestrated by Yaron Lifschitz and the Circa ensemble. 

Seize the opportunity to see Circa at home in Brisbane at the Judith Wright Centre before they commence touring overseas again. There is only wonder and joy to be gained from this kind of 'trip' to the theatre.

Judith Wright Centre presents
A Circa Production

Venue: Performance Space | Judith Wright Centre, 420 Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley Qld
Dates: 13 – 24 November 2012
Tickets: $38 – $25

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