An anniversary show on vanishing time and the ephemeral nature of performing arts, Tempus fugit? Une ballade sur le chemin perdu looks back on thirty years of adventures of the legendary Cirque Plume.
Ever since Cirque Plume was founded in 1983, winds have been blowing its way. Their soft currents gently brought this “family-friendly” troupe from rural Franche-Comté region fairs to the great capitals of the world, each trip resounding with thunderous applause. Then, in 2012, another flurry caused resident composer Robert Miny to drift away. “When, a year after his death, I walked under the big top for rehearsals, his disappearance seemed to fall on top of my head,” Bernard Kudlak, cofounder of the company, confessed to Le Monde. “I thought I wouldn’t be able to work again.” Yet nostalgia has not been fatal to Mr. Kudlak. The proof is the in creation of Tempus fugit? Une ballade sur le chemin perdu, a dreamlike “metaphysical” show with which this essentially self-funded company is celebrating its thirty years, surrounded by young virtuoso artists from around the globe. The members of the young team, like the majority of emerging circus artists today, know full well that they owe this fantasy to their predecessors. For, if circus has plowed its royal way into the programming of great international stages in the past thirty years, diversifying its audiences and polishing its prose, it owes a large part of this to the legendary troupe. Cirque Plume deftly swayed between spectacular performances and a kind of patchwork artisanship seemingly rooted in its DNA, between commercial poetry and carnival, fairground values. A motor of the “nouveau cirque” movement of the 1980’s, Plume was a pioneer in the art of remixing traditional apparatuses into social metaphors, of taking animal dressage acts and diverting them into inventive roles. Firm in their unwavering ideals (theatre of the people, the théâtre citoyen, Jean Vilar and the education of people) and their unchanging signature (the atmosphere of the terroir, poetry of running streams, birds à la Prévert),with their tenth creation, theysport the flamboyant colors of the arts of the circus ring – arts that have not yet ceased to reinvent themselves.