>> Dit artikel verscheen in CircusMagazine #32 (september 2012). Voor overname: contacteer maarten[at]circuscentrum.be.
>> Auteur: Maarten Verhelst
Unpack the Arts, het Europees project van het Circuscentrum en negen Europese festivals dat cultuurjournalisten de weg naar de circuskunsten wil helpen vinden, is in augustus van start gegaan. Het Ny Cirkus Festival in Kopenhagen was de eerste residentieplek voor tien geselecteerde journalisten uit alle hoeken van Europa. Hun volledige recensies kan je lezen op www.unpackthearts.eu, maar hier alvast enkele quotes.
Louise Finn (The Stage Magazine, The Dubliner – Ierland)
I’m at the Ny Cirkus Festival in Copenhagen and this is the first of four performances I am to experience during my short stay in the Danish capital. Coming from Ireland where there isn’t as strong a tradition of new/contemporary circus performance as in other parts of Europe I wasn’t sure what to expect from this festival.
Happily La Meute’s ‘Tragédie Grecque’, Un loup pour l’homme’s ‘Face Nord’, GLiMT’s ‘Er du os?’ and Subliminati Corporation’s ‘#File_Tone’ are illustrative of a diverse, at times divisive, but ultimately intriguing programme from organisers KIT (Københavns Internationale Teater). They should be applauded for this.
These performances raise numerous questions (we at Unpack the Arts spent four days debating them over endless cups of coffee) yet one issue in particular lingered in my mind.
How do new circus performances provoke complex emotional responses from their audience? For audiences are undoubtedly moved by these shows. There are breathless silences during ‘Face Nord’, nervous laughter in response to ‘Tragédie Grecque’, joyful smiles that can be seen in the half light of the theatre during ‘Er du os?’, contrasting sharply with fearful intakes of breath during ‘#File_Tone’. In simpler words, how can such overtly physical acts become things of beauty?
Daniela Firescu (Ramuri Magazine, Mozaicul – Roemenië)
The Glimt company’s show, ‘Are you us?’, concentrates in a minimalist yet impact-filled visual effects setting, the spiny issue of personal and territorial limits: political, aesthetic, psychological perspectives overlap, intertexts crowd the setting and provoke the viewer, forcing him/her to choose sides, to get involved, to get into the play, to catch the rope, to fight for it and finally, to decide which side to choose. In respect of the limit, the real problem – free will, freedom of decision – is suggested gradually. It’s a difficult choice, because the question is as direct as it is ambiguous and misleading. And intrusive, and invasive, and radical, and especially very current. You’re either with us or against us.
Arthur Hofmeester (Circusmagazine De Piste – Nederland)
What is in the mind of the smartphone generation when it comes to circus? The show by Diana Benneweis or ‘Undermän’ by Cirkus Cirkör? Is it the commercial circus or the subsidised circus? How will the new circus reach that generation?
New circus could be marketed if theatre directors, and of course producers, put more effort into selling this crazy but very interesting product. The reason audiences buy tickets is the word circus on the poster of a new circus company – for the majority of people the word circus has a magical attraction! Do not call it ‘movement theatre with acrobatics’ or anything like that – nobody will buy a ticket.
Many new circus companies only survive by selling their work to theatres or summer festivals. Theatre directors take a risk in selling tickets for an unknown company to a market that knows nothing about the product. But P.T. Barnum had the same problem for his Greatest Show on Earth, and Diana Benneweis must still face it today.
Sooner or later, the smartphone generation will want to step out of the era of individualism. Let them discover the new circus! New circus will also need new marketing.