La Croix
7 November 2005

Water games under the big-top

CIRCUS .Bernard Kudlak, the founder of "Plume" puts his mark on a show that is pure poetry.

Didier Méreuze

Jeux d'eau sous chapiteau | La Croix (presse_plicploc) {JPEG}The faint sound of water falling from the ceiling, drop by drop, is all-consuming. It’s delicious when this faint sound determines - or upsets - the order of things, usually cleverly calculated in any show, as each new leak breaks through. One leak is barely repaired when another suddenly appears, until a terrible deluge transforms the stage into a beach just right for Monsieur Hulot (translator’s note: a Jacques Tati character from the 1950’s who wreaks havoc at a beachside hotel)! That is Plic Ploc, Cirque Plume’s latest creation. What enchantment! What everlasting bliss! The audience is part of a celebration under the big-top at La Villette, carried along by 15 artists that give multiple performances as easily as turning on the tap: a little contortionist that lithely moves from one suspended hoop to another; a juggler that enjoys balancing balls on the summits of water jets like the notes in a Gymnopédie by composer Erik Satie; a couple that swings on a Korean cradle in harmony with an unexpected rock beat. The athletes challenge eachother on the teeterboard, an acrobat perches on top of a ladder... Whether in a rain slicker, in overalls, or wearing an improbable costume, each one throws themselves around wildly, whether dry or wet, in games of slip and slide and games with a garden hose that would make kids green with jealousy because at home, their parents would never let them have so much fun! The music written by Robert Miny is either played live by a robust group of musicians, or provoked in an uncommon concert, by drops of water that fall inexorably on pots and pans. In perfect osmosis with the acts that follow, the music lends the scenes their colour, and impregnates the atmosphere of surrealist images: a field of metronomes, an umbrella that flies into the air, dragging its owner up into the sky along with it... The stage transforms into a mirror, then into a ballroom floor for a mop ballet. We dream. We enjoy ourselves when a duo reinvents the traditional twosome of Auguste and the white clown, or when first a hand and then a woman escape from the bell of a tuba. There is absurdity. Humour and irony are there too, but more than anything, there is poetry, warm and pregnant. Founded twenty years ago by a group of self-taught street performers (such as Bernard Kudlak, its director), Cirque Plume has preserved its freshness. The grace of pure emotion.