“Courageous, ground-breaking, risk-taking – these are artist/athletes of the highest order.”
Ten acrobats from award-winning contemporary circus ensemble Circa take us on a stirring journey of what it means to be human and of how our bodies, our connections and our aspirations all form part of who we are.
Exploring the physical limits of their bodies as they are pushed to the extreme they question how much we can take as humans. How much weight can we carry? Who can we trust to support our load? They lead us to reflect on our lives, our loved ones, the burdens we carry and the physical and emotional strength it takes to overcome them.
Created by Yaron Lifschitz, the stage is stripped bare as the vulnerability of a team of highly skilled acrobats is exposed. With incredible strength and integrity they connect each moment seamlessly with the next in a thrilling and heart-stopping performance. Glimpse their humanity as they as they find redemptive power in strength and celebrate what it means to be fiercely human.
World premiere Sydney, Australia 2017
Duration 65 minutes
Touring History Australia, Italy, UK, Belgium
★★★★★ Katie Lavers, ArtsHub, ‘Humans from Circa’ published 16 January, 2017
Circa, the contemporary circus company from Brisbane, has been on the cutting edge of contemporary circus for over 12 years, since 2004. The company’s show Humans, presented as part of the Sydney Festival, sets a new benchmark in physically based inventiveness and creativity with physical material which appears to have manifested itself in response to the directive ‘Get rid of what you know. Start with you don’t know.’ The company members hold nothing back. Their total commitment to the work they are showing is visible at every moment. Courageous, ground-breaking, risk-taking – these are artist/athletes of the highest order.
If you have not seen a lot of circus go and see this show! You will see stunning acrobatics arts combined with contemporary dance. 10 acrobats at the peak of their ability playing with the languages of different circus disciplines to create a kind of physical poetry that is breathtaking and remarkable.
And if you have seen a lot of circus go and see the show too! Humans revitalizes ground-based movement, taking traditional circus acts such as acrobatics, hand-to-hand partnering, pyramid building, banquine and risley, two highs, three highs and at one point even a four high, and combines them and subverts them, cutting them together in unusual ways, collaging and mixing them with contemporary dance and contact improvisation. The normal staging of circus acts with the pause for acknowledgment and applause from the audience at the end of the act is gone. The normal physical signals between acrobats setting up expected partnering moves are discarded so each connection between performers is unforeseen, unexpected, surprising and fresh. In fact the whole notion of a circus act goes almost completely out the window. Instead the company is presenting a form of ground work which is in effect like a collective, physical stream of consciousness. A poetics of the extreme circus body emerges as a kind of mercurial element forged in the crucible of the sweat, discipline and hard work of the company members.
Circa’s new show celebrates Homo Ludens, the human as a creature of play, exploring the power of play to cross boundaries, subvert conformity and reveal hidden truths.
Do not miss this show! Highly recommended!
★★★★★ Lynn Lancaster, Sydney Arts Review ‘CIRCA PRESENTS ‘HUMANS’ @ THE SPAGHETTI CIRCUS BIG TOP, PARRAMATTA’ published 16 January, 2017
The young, fit, highly trained human body is capable of astonishing things.
Circa is a very exciting Brisbane based company. HUMANS asks what it means to be human. How much weight do we carry? Who can we trust to support our load? It leads us to reflect on our lives, our loved ones, the burdens we carry and the physical and emotional strength it takes to overcome them. Directed and created by Yaron Lifschitz, HUMANS, performed in the round at the Spaghetti Circus Big Top is a breathtaking combination of acrobatics, contortionism , tumbling, balancing, aerial trapeze, handstands and back flips.
Contact improvistaion, pyramid building, banquine and risley, and hand-to -hand partnering are also featured and strikingly blended with elements of contemporary dance. At times the audience audibly gasps. There is no real narrative, rather a fluid sequence of various dazzling and surprising interactions combining various finely honed circus skills. There is much use of haze and the lighting is delicately, warmly vibrant and atmospheric. The scintillating cast of ten wear a uniform of autumn/russet coloured shorts/leotards and a semi -transparent black top. They wear ankle and/or wrist supports .Some have tattoos,
At the beginning the cast wear casual street clothes and have fun rolling acrobatically twisting in and out of them. There is a fiercely tender and intimate sense of trust between the cast – some of the lifts, drops, throws ,twists and catches, let alone the pyramid balancing, are extraordinary. HUMANS is full of hot and sweaty bodies in explosive, movement , leaping, twisting ,twirling jumping, somersaulting ,precariously balancing , intimately entwined , swooping and swinging from a trapeze , dragged by the hair, sliding across the stage and forming sculptural poses.
One hilarious sequence that had the audience in rapture was where the cast twisted and bent in almost impossible shapes attempting to lick their elbow. Floating balancing lifts in other sections are contrasted with this A breath, a clap, a bend of the knee, a beautifully flexed and pointed foot or extended arm are all important . With astonishing strength, grace, agility and integrity, each moment is seamlessly connected.
The relentless, pulsating soundscape varied from an assortment of popular songs to music theatre standards to techno thump to the sound of a single clap. The almost hysterical standing ovation at the end was richly deserved.
Steve Dow, The Guardian ‘Sydney festival’s Circus City delights and astounds’ published 16 January, 2017
Circa’s brand new production Humans in the Big Top was, for me, the five-star favourite: a clear demonstration of the artistry of circus and its potential to draw together multiple theatrical forms. Directed by the company’s founder, Yaron Lifschitz, Humans has more in common with modern dance given its level of abstraction. What I adored was its fluid take on humanity and gender roles: women caught men falling backwards; men leapt towards and were caught by men. As the ensemble moved themselves into sculptural, abstract shapes, reaching higher to the ceiling for the denouement, I felt moved by their vulnerable, collective humanity.
Commissioned by MA scène nationale – Pays de Montbéliard
Director Yaron Lifschitz
Technical Director Jason Organ
Costume Design Libby McDonnell
Paul Tanguay (Worldwide)
David Lieberman / Artists’ Representatives (USA)
Circa acknowledges the assistance of the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body and the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland.
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