Monday Smiles – 3/2/2015
My wife, Muri, and I attend a lot of theatrical events ranging from drama and comedy to musicals. We attend concerts of classical music, jazz or rock and roll. We occasionally attend more diverse fare, like dance or magic shows or acrobats, courtesy of Goldstar Events, the half-price ticket outlet that sends a list of available events by email every week. We’ve seen the Blue Man Group and Cirque du Soleil at sea. Consequently, a show rarely strikes us as completely unique. This weekend, Goldstar was offering tickets to Sequence 8, a show by Les 7 Doigts de la Main (Seven Fingers of the Hand), billed on the Goldstar site as a Canadian cirque troupe. The show was a combination of performance art, comedy, interesting music, acrobatic choreography and cirque acts that left the audience gasping.
Unlike most circuses which feature extravagant sets and flamboyant costumes, the stage was set with minimal props and the performers wore muted clothes more akin to workout clothes than circus costumes. Each number featured one or two performers in their specialties but the entire troupe of two women and six men flowed, danced and tumbled through the performance, providing props or support for the main performers. Periodically, one or more of the troupe would speak to the audience about the performance and the experience of being a performer. Here we are again, one points out, in a dark and windowless room, only because you’ve come to see us. Every show is different, a dance of our actions and your reactions. Short skits wander between humor and philosophy then lead into the next number. It is truly hard to describe but this teaser will give you a glimpse.
The circus acts are simple yet stunning. One performer runs twenty feet up a Chinese pole, then hangs upside down with his arms behind his back, sliding downward only to stop himself when his head is inches from the floor. Two performers hurtle each other into the air form a teeter board, spinning and twisting in the air before landing upright and launching the other. One of the women performs on a Russian board, sort of a flexible balance beam suspended on the shoulders of two male performers who fling her fifteen or twenty feet in the air, where she tumbles and twists before landing with perfect control. The entire troupe tumbles across the stage in unison. One performer juggles cigar-box sized boxes in a way that seems to defy gravity:
There is perhaps no better theater experience than going to a show with no real expectations and being blown away by the performance. It only happens occasionally. A show by the Canadian musical family, Leahy, that we saw in Sante Fe one Valentines Day comes to mind and a musical review called Side By Side By Sondheim. A small cast performance of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street in which the cast played all the instruments and did all the set changes within the flow of the story was another surprise. But Sequence 8 may have been the best surprise of all, an amazing and unique show that just turned up on our social calendar. It’s Monday … I’m smiling.