At the end everything is topsy-turvy. Here we are with women shaving, people sweeping, feet stuck to ceilings. There is even someone sticking his head out of a hammock to vomit. And way up there, almost touching the roof of the big top, someone is playing the cello. And that’s not all. You have people becoming instruments and instruments becoming hands, men’s hands. Drapes become cords, cords become nets, clothes become ghosts. Shadows become lovers, lovers become shadows. Would you like to hear more ?
Let’s begin at the beginning : man and woman, Adam and Eve, and the apple. To put a name to a theme developed by the French troupe of the Cirque Plume you could say that it is the encounter of the sexes, the game of Love. So, there they are, the men and the women facing each other. On one side a men’s band, equipped with tuba, trumpet and drums and on the other a bunch of women.
Boom-da-da-boom ... Who on earth is that ? All set ? The first loving, tender, feelings are not far off.
Ta-ra-ra ! A man goes by. Everything takes place smoothly and quietly. The woman preens herself. The man shows what he can do. He transforms a cigarette into a flower ; and the woman - who would have thought so ? - prefers the cigarette. The man ends up dressed in women’s clothes. In fact, just who am I ?-
"Can the Town Band Together ?" is the name of the latest and much acclaimed creation of the Cirque Plume, which had its world premier at the Tollwood Festival. After the first few minutes you begin to realize that the Cirque Plume is beyond classification. It isn’t exactly a circus, it isn’t exactly acrobatics, it isn’t exactly theatre, it isn’t exactly bedlam, yet it is a bit of all of these. The show is, in fact, a total work of art which plays on the borders of pure kitsch but always manages to avoid falling into it because of its irony and savoir faire. You might even say that only a few of the acrobatic acts are exceptional, if it were not for the choreography, the perfect collage of colours, music, performing skills and agility, if it were not for the story which is told through a series of tableaux.
It is, above all, just these little things, these little stories which make the slightest change of scenery a real high point, it is that quite magical way of performing which sets the Cirque Plume out on its own. You can’t help thinking that all those involved in the show are having fun, that they enjoy their work and wouldn’t hesitate to slip in an improvised gag on the spur of the moment. Zorro appears, and whip in hand, sets about taming a cyclist. Adam and Eve kiss while the scenery is being changed. Rodin’s Thinker appears, and even the Serpent is granted a short appearance. Each and all are polyvalent : artiste, clown, musician, stage hand. So it’s not surprising if it all looks a bit crazy. You are somewhat abashed when you get to the marvellous scenes like the one with the shadows, of which we will say nothing, as you have to see it with your own eyes. In moments such as these, everything falls into place.
Title of photo: TOPSY-TURVY, in the Cirque Plume, the cyclist and the guitarist get to trampoline too.