le Parisien
29 October 1999

Take to the air with the Cirque Plume

Yves Jaeglé

Not easy. This circus doesn’t go around and around a ring but takes off and lands on three levels. From hell to paradise with a detour via purgatory? On a stage facing the audience as for a concert, there is a ground floor, and two others, an attic even, with dark and dusty nooks from which an angel surges forth on a bicycle, pedalling, weightlessly. He’s not the only one. A double-bass takes to the air, like a little aeroplane with the musician clutching on to it. The others try to imitate him, but remain heavy in every sense of the term. To describe the Cirque Plume you could imagine a painting by Chagall, but also a comic strip. "Little Miss Perfect", concierge of this building, a sort of dive squatted by poets, gives a touch of her broom to the head of the guitarist on the floor below, and flushes out this angel of No Fixed Abode and No Fixed God who is trying to create ties among all these free electrons "Mélanges" - mixture of genres Plume is the oldest of the New Circuses, sixteen years of existence for this joyous bunch from the Franche-Comté which lived out its adolescence in the wake of May ’68, when everything seemed possible, even messing around in a circus without being born into it. "Mélanges (opéra plume)" the name of their new creation, mixes generations (lots of new young talent from the circus schools), as much as genres, since music has taken an even more important place, from medieval arias to pop Jimi Hendrix style, with the electric guitar and the drums keeping the tempo.
Poetic virtuosity
These "Mélanges", or mixtures are an harmonious balanced blend between the jubilation of a guitarist playing on a trampoline, the free-wheeling acrobat or trapeze artist, the poetic virtuosity of a hat-juggler, and those drapes and silhouetted shadows, which have always been the hall-mark
of the utopian, dreamlike, atmosphere of the Cirque Plume. It is one of the rare troupes who seem to be able to reconcile both the children, numerous in the audience, who will see neither animals nor red-nosed clowns but men, winged like poets or stuck to the ground like dopes, and adults, uncomfortable with the traditional circus but who are rather in search of a certain atmosphere, " a show which sees itself and is lived as a poem" in the words of Bernard Kudlak troupe leader of these facetious angels. Also, one of the rare troupes capable of finding a response in a such a wide and varied public. And delighted to go about the mixing of "Mélanges".