L’Humanité Dimanche
23 October 2014

"ô, vol, suspends ton temps..."

L'Humanité Dimanche | ô, vol, suspends ton temps... (presse_tempus) {PDF}

It is now already thirty years that this Circus Company, hailing from Besançon, has being blowing the dust from the relics of the Big-Top. To celebrate this they have set-up their latest creation, "Tempus Fugit? (Time flies), at the Villette park, Paris, until the 28 December. A visual and musical delight.


So, if reaching the age of thirty was a chance for Cirque Plume to consider time itselff The title, "Tempus fugit? une ballade sur le chemin perdu" seems a bit enigmatic, so Bernard Kudlak, the Director, has chosen to provide an explanatory note. Latin-scholars will know this expression, meaning "time flies", often inscribed on "sundials or cemetery gates"; it’s ironic to talk about the weather and chrysanthemums for a show that is a genuine elegy to life. As for the ballad, this is not about a promenade (balade in French), but "a poem", something which sits aptly with Cirque Plume’s approach, plunged within the dreamlike nature of reality rather than any kind of virtual 3.0.

"It’s a human, collective and artistic adventure of encounters with audiences", says Kudlak when talking about the circus Company’s thirtieth anniversary celebrations at the Villette. "This is about the success of a project which is almost political in its nature: putting all ages and social classes on the same bench for shows which are in fact quite demanding. Circus can do that. Culturally speaking, it’s easier to do it with contemporary circus. These 30 years, have been about the delight in seeing that we really have managed to succeed without sacrificing art. We are proud of that. "
Plume lives off ideals. "We’re from the Franche-Comté, it’s a region of France which is a little bit wild, there are forests, there is nature and there are utopias. Victor Considérant who had created the first modern theatre in Besançon, with an orchestra pit, was from the region just like Proudhon, Courbet and Fourier who were in Besançon too. The first banking, workers’ and agricultural co-operatives were founded in Franche-Comté. It’s a region of utopias; this was a necessity since life is hard out there in the cold and the mountains. The real reason is not the about the land or the shape of the rocks so much as the Suisse border, which meant that we could always escape from the police in less than an hour."

Beyond the meaning behind the title, "Tempus Fugit?" can be enjoyed as a visual and musical journey carried by 13 artists. Plume has a marvellous sense of how to bring all the Circus arts together. Musicians next to acrobats, jugglers, tightrope walkers, clowns and dancers. They all have one thing in common, they are all incredible performers. One only has to observe the enthusiastic reactions of the kids, laughter breaks down social barriers and bridges generation gaps, so it’s safe to say that the gamble has paid off. Here a political conscience does not exclude the idea of enjoyment. "I wanted to have a circus which retained the same possibilities as the great traditional circuses. Our aim was to create the chance for an audience to really encounter the circus. Our decisions were made on the basis of this founding principal. Thinking about what we were really helped us to do that." Even if Plume did not reinvent the circus on their own, they are taking this popular form of art to its very summit. It is by building on its collective strengths that Plume has become great.