Sud Ouest
9 January 2016

Plume, sustainable circus

Sud Ouest | Plume, cirque durable (presse_tempus) {PDF}

Over the thirty two years of their existence, Cirque Plume’s members may have changed but their spirit and sense of poetry remains the same.

MÉRIGNAC Cirque Plume is at the Pin Galant this weekend, with its show - "Tempus fugit?", no nostalgia, but a sense of the time that has passed

Time, they know all about it. The years go by and they have seen their share. Thirty to be precise: thirty years since this eclectic troupe first saw the day, motivated by an offbeat enthusiasm for the circus, specifically because at the time it was an art form that was criticised and considered unfashionable.
It wasn’t even really considered as an art form, and Cirque Plume contributed enormously to the deserved recognition that the Circus arts have today.

A genuine exploit
Other circus troupes of the 1980s who also pioneered this new discipline have seen their curtain calls; Archaos, Aligre, Baroque and company fill the memories of all those who discovered modern circus during those innovative times. Only Plume continues to fly.
"Tempus fugit?" is a precisely imprecise look at this journey, a sort of not quite exact review of a genuine exploit: a survivor of a time which it pleases us to imagine was more heroic than it probably was.
Never afraid of poetically embellishing reality, Bernard Kudlak, one of the eight co-founders, has decided to decode this "passing time" which we often find on sundials, this symbol of our inevitable progress towards the end we all dread.
For him, the answer’s in the question: the question mark itself places doubt on the passing of time because "in the circus, time is immediate. So time is eternal. "
A time which can suspend itself with more sureness than the trapeze artists, even if the troupe’s co-founders have not completely escaped its influence as they are no longer on stage themselves, replaced by a new generation many of whom were not even born when Cirque Plume was created. But who now carry the torch... and above all the willingness to create a circus for all, a family circus, and if they display a certain anniversary nostalgia with "Tempus fugit?", it’s more a nostalgia for the 80s, when it was still possible to provoke wonder without cynicism or resorting to the second degree. Their tenth show is an accumulation of beautifully worked images; acts follow each other with the kind of perfection we are used to seeing on televised cabaret shows. Technically speaking this is heavy duty, so much mastery that we don’t even notice the sweat which is such an elemental part of the circus. Plume are now experienced virtuosos in choreographic moves and soft lighting, the home-made approach of old has now gone, even if they have kept their sense of modesty, but now with so much more resources to hand. No more innovation, just poetry and the essential sense of spirit: the desire to entertain everyone, not just the fans.
Plume is now a classic and they live it as well as they say it.

Jean-Luc Eluard