Le Journal du Dimanche
7 November 1999

Cirque Plume, quite a poem

Barbara Théate

AN ANGEL GOES BY. Somewhat crumpled, its wings ruffled, thick beard and hair dishevelled, the divine messenger crosses the the big-top stage at top speed. Now on roller-skates, now on a bicycle suspended above the audience, in the air by the power of the Holy Spirit. Shedding, from time to time, a few feathers which annoy the grumpy concierge, amuse the musicians, tickle the bald head of the juggler, inspire the trapezists, distract the acrobats’ balancing act. A clumsy angel, uncertain of which saint to turn to, who will bring a little poetry to our world of brutes.
"With Mélanges (Mixtures) I wanted to establish links in our society in which people no longer speak. I imagined an angel with no fixed deity turning up in an improbable place, bringing about union among the characters and allowing them to create things together", explains Bernard Kudlak who, for sixteen years, has been successfully weaving the Cirque Plume’s shows. But can one speak simply of the circus when speaking about Plume? Theatre, dance, music, song are there to accompany and enhance the technical prowess of the acrobats. The singer is turns into acrobat, the concierge into a player of the musical saw, the angel into a trapeze artist. With disarming ease. "Today, the circus new school teaches its pupils to be all-rounders. The kids can express very different styles and this freedom is an excellent thing." The starry ring turns into a theatre stage, an exciting cabaret, the big-top into a lunar station.

Poetry and emotion take over, the circus becomes a hymn to tenderness. A musician who flies off on a double bass, the concierge juggles with her red nose in shadow theatre, the whole troupe plays at "Freeze", the children’s game, "Un, deux, trois, soleil"... You’d think you were in a Kusturica film. "Something makes the circus the place of nostalgia for paradise which resembles the all-powerfulness of childhood, in which constraints disappear, in which everything becomes possible. Our imagination no longer has frontiers. It’s up to the spectators to complete it, to make the story even more marvellous, and with us, construct their show", says Bernard Kudlak. Contact is made, the audience, of all ages, exults, the alchemy is magical.
Plume sees itself as a circus continuing the tradition. "We owe everything entirely to it. We don’t betray it and we develop it in the same spirit: we try to be as technically good as possible, to provide a quality show, with varied and amazing acts, all to a musical backing. Even if with Plume, the music is not simply part of the decor, but an integral part of the show." And above all a living circus. "For the living. This is vital at a time in which television is becoming more important than life itself, in which social and cultural divisions dominate. For the duration of a show, we get together to spend some time together. To thrill to and share emotions. Just like when, at the beginning of time, men got together around a fire."