L’Est Républicain
17 October 2014

Cirque Plume holds back the hands of time

L'Est Républicain | Le Cirque Plume retient le temps (presse_tempus) {PDF}

The Big-Top has been raised at the Villette until 28 December. Come one, come all!

Thirty years, the age of reason, but Plume can still count on the flexibility of artists and hearts. 30 years of live shows, time for a look in the rear-view mirror. Time flies for sure, and that’s not easy to face. To bring this swing from tick to tock out onto the circus ring... just a feather (plume), then two, then more: the piano descends from above, and with it Benoit Shick, the pianist and a voice. The way opens up between gravity and chaos.
Plume remembers its roots, back in Valentigney, Beaulieu-Mandeure and the Peugeot bicycles. Plume nods a wink at its previous shows. Whether that be the lands of Lip, Fourrier, Prouhon, using the clown ball, juggling with the earth, shadows and light. The ground shudders and groans beneath the paving stones. Bicycle, Pierrot, swimmer, tango dancers, demonstrators, hop-scotch player, the artists rush past, from past to present. Plume’s sheet music flies off with the violinist in pursuit behind. Plume builds on its acts, balancing acts, dance, acrobatics, trapeze, tightrope, physical prowess and delicacy leaving us with the impression of ease. There is Plume’s very soul, this wild desire for poetry, and the solidarity of those that have joined up the core-group for this show. They echo the energy and the humour, its dynamic and joyful and light-hearted and what’s more...

The Plume abecedarium

Bernard Kudlak lets the words tell the story of Plume, 26 possible entries...

Everything has been written, proven by a+b

AN ABECEDARIUM aims to teach. A collection or literary object... whatever... Bernard Kudlak, co-founder and artistic director of the Circus, could have chosen one of many roles for his abecedarium as a pretext for his word play. He has mainly taken liberties... with the genre, the aim and the style.
In this publication he does not just tell the story of Plume and its 30 years, but offers up as many doorways into this great adventure as there are letters in the alphabet. Perhaps more, as the author multiplies the "Ah" and the "Heu" for fun... Letting the words build the work themselves. "The national library offered to look after the Cirque Plume archives, so I went back and had a look at the notebooks, documents and files..."
This was not just about holding one’s breath and jumping in, it was like diving and breathing at the same time, the past returned to life. Not so much a look at the past, more like being blown through the corridors of time. From yesterday to today. Tempus Fugit! The disturbing accuracy of these extracts without artifice from the archives. Dated and signed to prove their authenticity. Bearing witness to the pertinence and the coherence of the adventure.
"It’s true that 30 years ago we had already written down everything that was to be said about what we wanted to be and what we were going to be", admitted a smiling Bernard Kudlak. However this exercise has nothing to do with simple justification. The perspective afforded by this work reveals the very pillars upon which their Big-Top was raised. Nature itself. As a constant presence in the décor it became the very heartbeat of Cirque Plume. "In our choices, our loves, our philosophy, our lifestyle, nature is everywhere, and has been right from the start. In its spiritual sense of course (like with the trees and the grass...), but also in our political desire: society must protect it, keep it safe from the cult of money and greed. We’ve been raiding the oceans, 40% of animal species have become extinct over the last 40 years. In 1974 René Dumont was already talking about this. Of course there are zones of resistance, and art can either be directed towards chaos and help us to prepare to deal with the ugliness of the world. Or art can save the world. Plume has always strived to put beauty and poetry at the centre of the world. We were a bunch of hippies and dreamers, but we have also been facing up to the realities of the world since the start, we rolled up our sleeves and pushed the caravans through the snow."
The time to move mountains has passed, now is a time for bridges, conduits and transmission. It is autumn time, and Bernard Kudlac’s abecedarium gives Plume its greatest leaves.

Catherine CHAILLET