The Radiohead song “Where I End and You Begin” comes to mind while watching Circadium’s new work HELIOPAUSE. In physics, a heliopause is the place where the bubble of our sun’s influence ends, and solar plasma gives way to interstellar. It is an apt metaphor for the time of isolation we’re emerging from, and the new graduating class of Circadium explores its depths through circus art.
The piece begins by easing non-performance into performance with no warning, no lights dimmed, the troupe swaying in a cluster off to the side. Throughout the show they flock together, occasionally ejecting a member or two to perform a solo piece. The techniques they use are traditional: juggling, unicycle, tightwire. But with thoughtful lighting (Kyle Hanahan), soundscapes and wabi-sabi grouping, the effect is magical. Legs morph into seaweed, and balls into bubbles. The group’s hand movements and bird calls turn the stage into a swamp. Tumbling acrobats become solar winds, threatening to disturb tightwire walker Madeline Falley, splitting and spinning on her wire. All the lines and circles embody the theme of beginning and ending, and the movement of the group as a whole, often imitating the motions of the solo performer, softens the edges of self.
The newest graduates of Circadium present a thoughtful, genre-blending piece of entertainment.
The work, dark and almost Medieval at times, is also very playful. Much of the show feels like clowning, probably influenced by director Molly Saudek’s background. Each stick and ball and hoop has play potential. As solos become duos, we see a timid outreach from the self to others, reminiscent of early childhood friendships…
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