By Darragh Doyle.
What do you think "Theatre" is? What is a show at a "Theatre Festival" going to be about? What will it feature? Will you get it? Will you enjoy it?
What if I told you it was this?
There was a moment watching CIRCA
last night where the fantastic action on stage, the huge skill, choreography and strength on display and the gasps and audible silence (bear with me)
from the audience took second place to a thought in my head: How could I describe this to someone who couldn't see?
, from Australia, is not easily definable.. It's not a "show", a "performance" or a "piece". It's not what you might consider "classic" theatre. There's no actors, no narrative or "story". It is instead something completely different - and I think this is why the audience loved it so much.
The programme for Circa describes it as "a new kind of circus ... combining acrobatics, dance, light, sound and video [where] seven performers move from highly complex tumbling sequences, to fast-paced flashes of great intricacy." and really that's a good description, while completely limiting it because words can't describe it well enough.
There are seven performers and they move around the stage, but it's HOW they move that made the show such a visual treat. "That's how the body should move" I scribbled, afraid I'd miss something on stage. Lots of it made me want to shout "Do that again!"
This isn't circus - it's circus PLUS. Watching the strength, the skill and the fun on stage last night made me want to get up there and join in. Jumping, leaping, falling, tumbling, dancing, balancing, swinging, hula-hooping - Circa shows how it can be done - with years of training and skill. I'd love to be able to do it. There's no way I could.
The audience loved it. They laughed, gasped, cheered, looked disblelievingly at some of the acts (How did you ever think of doing that?" and participated fully in others.
The audible silence I spoke of was the sound of the full Gaiety holding their breath watching some of the acts, or holding their applause in case it interrupted the massive concentration on stage. Some of the simplest looking acts - hands in the light, free-standing somersaults, swing balancing - were the ones that commanded the most attention. Silencing the entire theatre with just a click of the fingers is a skill all on its own. The lighting and sound too were superb.
I wrote on my notes last night "Don't think of this as "theatre, think of it as an experience, a celebration, an example of what the human body can do, what years of training, practise and enjoyment brings. See the trust the performers have for each other. Watch the fun they have.
" - and maybe that's the best thing to do. It was for me the best possible way to start the Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival
- a visual spectacle of beauty that everyone enjoyed. I met friends last night who would gladly have sat down and watched it again, right there and then. Wonderful.
Darragh is Communications Manager of Boards.ie, entertainment and events blogger in Ireland.
CIRCA takes place Sept 30 - Oct 3 at the Gaiety Theatre.
Labels: CIRCA, Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival