3 October 2018

Cirque Plume – La dernière saison at la Villette

Cirque Plume – La dernière saison, à la Villette | Criticomique (presse_lds) {PDF}By Cirque Plume, directed by Bernard Kudlak
Seen on October 3, 2018 at the Espace Chapiteaux du parc de la Villette (Paris, 19th arrondissement)

After 25 years of finely aestheticized shows, here is — if we believe them — what is unfortunately Cirque Plume’s last show. It’s first and foremost a strong work in terms of sound and lighting. The stage opens to a succession of backdrops, subtly lit, and with the presence of musicians so exceptional that they alone would suffice. The stage is not circular but frontal, like the black box that director Bernard Kudlak defines as a box of light, whose workings are arranged down to the last millimeter. Here is an enchanting scenic poem, bringing us into confrontation with the Elements, nourished with greenery, flower petals, feathers, and body percussion.

But there are also clowns and athletes. A music-hall spirit is carried out most notably by Bernard Kudlak and by Cyril Casmèze, the zoomorphic athlete who is at once a dog and a bear, and by a host of young acrobats at the top of their form, including a contortionist of extraordinary flexibility and virtuosity. They all put themselves at the service of a dreamlike and wild aesthetic. Also contributing to this is the painting by Charles Belle, left for over two years to the wind and rain in the forest, which gives a telluric force with its branches and its play on lunar mirrors. The musicians transform into prehistoric men and make-believe natives, and the collective itself forms a tribe. The allusions are sometimes fleeting and all the more striking, such as the Darwinian evolution of a monkey to a man recreated in a few seconds, as well as the appearances of Santa Claus and Père Fouettard.

Poetry, physical virtuosity, music-hall notes that sound just right: everything is at once subtle, deep, and light, so that we do not have the impression of a succession of performances but rather of one harmonious whole. Everything blends together with sound and lighting, with a natural fluidity between comic, athletic, and poetic aspects, none of which overpower the others. The sole downside: an overdone final scene, while everything else is so light...