Appearing in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival’s annual Finnish arts showcase From Start to Finnish 2023, Imsoniac’s Fable by the company Agit-Cirk is a love story with a Hitchcockian glint in its eye, told through the merging of juggling and ballet. Catch this circus-dance piece from 2 to 27 August at Summerhall in Cairns Lecture Theatre.
DANCE, PHYSICAL THEATRE & CIRCUS (Circus, Dance)
From Start to Finnish in association with Agit-Cirk present:
Part of From Start to Finnish 2023
Concept by Emma Lister and Sakari Männistö
Visual Art by Angela Annesley
Created by ballet dancer Emma Lister and contemporary circus artist Sakari Männistö, Insomniac’s Fable is a surreal dreamscape with evocative choreography by Ludovic Ondiviela and images created by Angela Annesley from her woodcuts. Subverting the “boy meets dream girl” narrative, it asks what would happen if this dream girl grabbed hold of the story. Performed by Sakari with Scottish dancer Erin O’Toole, it combines ballet, juggling, and psychedelic design to create a Hitchcockian love story.
Sakari Männistö said, “The genesis of this project was our interest in making a narrative piece combining dance, circus, and visual art, specifically the art of printmaking and the techniques involved in woodcuts. We saw the relationship between a carved wooden block and the paper upon which it impresses a mirror image as a metaphor for two people’s perception of one event. Around these ideas, we constructed a story that is somewhere between the films Vertigo and Inception, sources that toy with layers of reality and the theme of love versus obsession.”
Emma Lister added, “I’m very interested in dreams, in the literal sense of the journeys we take when asleep and the more conscious daydream: a future, a wish, a revenge, or an idealised person. Here the dream is of the ‘perfect girl.’ One who will fulfill all your desires, and after them, life will come together. In film, this is often exemplified by the ‘manic pixie dream girl,’ a character who ‘exists solely in the fevered imagination of the sensitive writer-director to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures’ (Rabin 2007).”
Agit-Cirk is an association founded in 2005 for circus arts and music. The members of Agit-Cirk work in the fields of circus arts, music, and poetry. Their mission is to create and produce unique and modern high-level multidisciplinary circus arts performances.
Sakari Männistö has been involved as a performer and director in over 50 different circus performances and productions with companies such as Agit-Cirk, Makeshift Company, Circo Aereo, Gandini Juggling, and Cirk La Putyka. He has performed throughout Finland, Central Europe, Russia, Canada, and the USA. Apart from his performing and teaching work, Sakari is also a founding Artistic Director of Agit-Cirk, Makeshift Company, Silence London (2018), Birch – festival London (2019), and ESSE – festival (2022-), and formerly the Silence Festival in Lapland (2006-2016).
Emma Lister trained at Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet School. On moving to England, Emma danced with the English National Ballet, The National Ballet of Ireland, and the English Youth Ballet where she was a principal artist for ten years, dancing all the major classical ballet leads. Her rehearsal director/assistant choreographer work includes The National Ballet of Ireland, Ludovic Ondiviela, multiple Gandini Juggling productions, Seeta Patel, and both Kirill Burlov and Hubert Essakow at The Print Room, London. Emma is also co-founding director of Makeshift Company, which devises full-length mixed arts theatre pieces.
Performer Erin O’Toole is a Scottish ballet dancer who has performed with companies including Gandini Juggling.
Insomniac’s Fable was originally a Makeshift Company production in cooperation with Agit-Cirk.
From Start to Finnish is an annual showcase presented at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe that represents the best in Finnish performing arts. Returning to Edinburgh for its eleventh year, From Start to Finnish 2023 features four shows: A Couple of Humans (Summerhall), Chevalier–Hobbyhorse Circus (Assembly), Insomniac’s Fable (Summerhall), and THEM (Pleasance). In previous years, the showcase has included the award-winning Cock, Cock… Who’s There? and The Desk, the Fringe First-winning physical theatre piece.
Running Time: 50mins | Suitable for ages 8+
Direction by Emma Lister
Visual art by Angela Annesley
Lighting Design by Eero Auvinen
Dance choreography by Ludovic Ondiviela
Juggling choreography by Sakari Männistö
Costume design by Alice Williamson
Sakari Männistö and Erin O’Toole
Summerhall, Cairns Lecture Theatre, 1, Summerhall, Newington, Edinburgh EH9 1PL (venue 26)
Previews 2-3 August, 4-27 August 2023, (not 14, 21), 11:00-11:50
Relaxed shows Wednesday, Aug 16 & 23
Supported by The Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture.
Source: Press release shared by Maryann Right of Mobius Industries. All images in this article credited to photographer Patrick Baldwin. Main image: Erin O'Toole.
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