They’d raised their circus tent in Lixenbuhl before, in 2012. To celebrate their 30th anniversary, Cirque Plume have returned to Illkirch and are looking at the passing of time—with a smile. “Tempus Fugit?”their tenth—and second to last?—creation is an opus waiting to be discovered, playing through May 7. Run!
It is a breath of life, a parenthesis of dreams. Penetrating inside the Cirque Plume big top, it is an outpouring of memories of past show—knowing full well that the new piece will soon join the collection. This is embodied through an outstanding Chinese pole number, through the opening, through feathers falling on a piano suspended above the stage—the piano gradually approaching the ground. “It’s an angel crying!” analyzed a child loudly, perfectly summing up the spirit of the scene.
The big top seemed to have lost a little of its grandeur, placed on the football field in front of the Lixenbuhl tram station—a slightly unforgiving ground, which had for some time carried the stigma of its 2012 passage.“It’s normal, it’s 20 years old, so we wash it, but not too much, in order to preserve it,” explained director Bernard Ku¬dlak. After 30 years and ten shows, the Plume spirit has not budged one iota: festive and magical, sharp and poetic; with both feet anchored in life, even if it has dark edges. Six of the eight founders are still in on the adventure. And if the next show must also be the last, Bernard Kudlak is not prone, he says, to nostalgia.“Life is such. It’s finite. We are born, we live… one day we die and it’s over, even if this society hates everything that isn’t young and dynamic,” sums up the benevolent sexagenarian philosophically.
Variation on passing of time
Kudlak knows that the young artists have other plans, and this gladdens him. In fact, this afternoon the troupe is rehearsing with their understudies. He promises there will be no “Aznavour style” farewell tour, even if the next show has already been booked for two years and if Jean-Louis Kircher, the director of l’Illiade, Jean-Louis Kircher, would happily see his fetish circus back at Illkirch. Bernard Kudlak is working on the new creation, whose first bits are starting to emerge and which will revolve around “the elements and the seasons” as a tribute to nature.
In the meantime, it’s a variation on transmission and on the passing of time—via an implacable metronome or magic clockwork crystals—with impassioned performers of all backgrounds: natives of France, the United States, Switzerland, and Canada. Generations of spectators from all over the region and even from Germany have been enjoying it. A few grams of sweetness and lightness in this brutal world: like a life-saving breath.