“…circus at its purest and most thrilling… utterly captivating” – Daily Review, Australia
Three artists stretch the boundaries of contemporary circus in this intimate and deeply moving new production by Brisbane-based contemporary circus company Circa.
Hauntingly beautiful and truly virtuosic What Will Have Been is a sublime display of interlocking bodies, awe-inspiring movement and pure physical beauty. Circa’s intrepid artists will challenge your perceptions of what is possible within the human body and draw you deep into a world of physical daring.
Accompanied on stage by a live violinist and fusing together the music of Bach and spine-tingling electronica, this explosive new production is guaranteed to tug at your heartstrings and have you on the edge of your seat.
World premiere Norwich, the UK 2015
Performers 4 (3 acrobats, 1 violinist)
Duration 65 minutes
Touring History the UK, Australia, Mexico, Hungary, France
Glen Pearce, The Public Reviews “What Will Have Been – Norfolk and Norwich Festival”, published May 17, 2015 ★★★★★ http://www.thepublicreviews.com/what-will-have-been-norfolk-and-norwich-festival/
While some circus groups such as Cirque du Soleil strive constantly for the next big special effect to make their shows more spectacular, Yaron Lifschitz and his Circa ensemble have returned to the basics with their latest work, What Will Have Been. Performed in the round and on a bare stage, this intimate interpretation of the form draws the audience in and creates a work of immense power.
The interpretation of story is one for the audience to make their own but at the heart of the piece is the joyful and touching interplay of relationships between two male and one female performer. Is it a love triangle, a friendship or the representation of different aspects of one relationship? Whatever narrative the viewer chooses to take from the piece it’s a clear dramatic arc that shows that circus can provide drama as well as thrills.
Of course, this being Circa the thrills are there in abundance, with the trio performing a series of feats that leave the audience breathless. There is more than one moment in this engaging show that you find yourself having to remember to breathe.
Lauren Herley, Daniel O’Brien and Lewie West pitch their performances perfectly. Each movement, each a seemingly impossible contortion of the human body, is perfectly placed to gain maximum visual and dramatic effect.
The trio displays the impeccable split second timing that we’ve become accustomed to from Circa, as they leap, tumble and contort their bodies into shapes that shouldn’t be physically possible – yet there is also a deep sense of characterisation. There’s a sense of playfulness but also a deep emotional connection on display that moves and tugs at the heartstrings. In the close confines of the Adnams Speigeltent we are able to see ever muscle flex, every drop of sweat but also every twinkle in the eye.
From draw-droppingly beautiful aerial rope and trapeze work, through to demonstrations of strength and control on balance poles, this is a trio perfectly in tune with each other and perfectly aware that they are creating a strong visual story that moves as much as their impressive skills.
With a score that fuses the electronic with virtuosic live Bach violin by Rebecca Seymour, What Will Have Been transcends from an entertainment experience into something much more spiritual. As the trio form a final embrace and Seymour’s violin fades into darkness it’s only the hardest of hearts that won’t be wiping a tear from their eye.
What Will Have Been premiered in Norwich but it’s clear that this masterly re-defining of the boundaries between circus, music and drama will have a long and successful life long after this festival is over. A company that continually stretches the boundaries, Circa have set the bar high for their next production that follows this outstanding work.
Ben Neutze, Daily Review Sydney “Sydney Festival: What Will Have Been” published January 9, 2016 ★★★★
Brisbane-based circus arts company Circa is one of Australia’s greatest cultural exports — a groundbreaking ensemble of circus artists constantly stripping back and reinventing their art form, and consistently wowing audiences at arts festivals all around the world. I haven’t always been entirely sold on their productions although I appreciate their skills, artistry and innovative spirit; I often find their meshing of contemporary dance and acrobatics a little abrupt in larger ensemble works, but this intimate piece for three acrobats and one violinist is expertly executed and often very moving.
After a brief recording of Oppenheimer’s famous speech about the deadly force of nuclear weapons, the performance begins with Lauren Herley up on a rope while Rebecca Seymour plays Bach violin solos below her. Harley twists and turns smoothly, violently and energetically, weaving her body around the rope and the rope around her body. It’s a relatively long solo rope performance, and Herley is utterly captivating in what is essentially a prelude to the main event — the stunning duets and trios that follow with Daniel O’Brien and Robbie Curtis.
Director Yaron Lifschitz, along with the ensemble, has created extraordinary segments of circus, largely open to interpretation but all about relationships evolving over time. The first trio sees all three leap about the stage and around each other’s bodies — occasionally making contact, holding and flinging each other off. Then there’s a gorgeous and romantic duet which takes place while balancing precariously atop two small blocks, followed by another duet performed by the two men strapped together, first at the waist and then at the neck atop a trapeze.
Seymour’s playing matches the acrobats for vivacity, although she is very much a supporting player — it’s impossible to take your eyes and mind off the trio no matter how exciting Seymour’s performance is. She gets a brief solo which allows her to shine for a moment and also plays amongst an electronic soundscape, bringing musical worlds together.
What Will Have Been is circus at its purist and most thrilling — where showmanship and athleticism meet to create something undeniably vulnerable and relatable. There are moments where they deliberate fail — physical connections falter and the performers fall. There are moments where a “ta-dah” moment refuses to arise and we’re left to consider the humanity of the performers.
And then there’s the moment at the very end where the trio perform a movement, which requires all the willpower and bodily strength of Curtis. It seems like it could almost be too much for Curtis, but then suddenly all three are there to support one another in body and spirit and endure whatever must be endured.
Created by Yaron Lifschitz with the Circa Ensemble
A Norfolk and Norwich Festival and La Teatreria (Mexico) commission
Director Yaron Lifschitz
Technical Director /Lighting Designer Jason Organ
Stage Design Yaron Lifschitz and Jason Organ
Costume Design Libby McDonnell
International representation (please credit as appropriate)
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. This project has been assisted by the Australian government through the Ministry for the Arts’ Catalyst—Australian Arts and Culture Fund.
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