“in_between” by Circo Aereo Starts Its Season at Chamäleon Berlin
With the premiere of “in_between,” the Finnish company Circo Aereo finally arrives at the Chamäleon. And shows the audience what otherwise can only be felt.
People disappear into the wallpaper, swing from the chandelier into the arms of others, dance on their hands. It’s as if they could fly—they float across the stage, gliding through the air. With their new piece “in_between,” the Finnish company Circo Aereo invites you into a world between reality and dream, into the strange state just before or after waking, detached from reality and yet very real.
“When the curtain rises, the audience should feel as if they are entering their own dreams,” says Maksim Komaro, the man who conceived of this world. “We bring to the stage what people normally only see when they close their eyes.”
It is circus and illusion, theatre and dance. It feels impossible and mysterious and, at the same time, completely natural. Circo Aereo, like the Chamäleon, is known for continually breaking new ground. So it was inevitable that they would cross paths at some point. The co-production “in_between” is their first collaboration and a passion project for both.
Maksim Komaro, director and co-founder of Circo Aereo, first envisioned the project five years ago, when he began working with Chamäleon to develop early ideas and find suitable acrobats. Production work officially began in 2020, only to be stopped by a global pandemic at the height of the creative process.
“It was especially painful for our young acrobats to be suddenly forbidden from doing what they love,” says Komaro. It was a time of uncertainty and fear. “At the same time, with Chamäleon as a partner, we always felt one hundred percent safe and supported. It was evident: we’ll get through this together.”
Chamäleon Artistic Director Anke Politz confirms this and is proud to have brought the Finnish company to the theatre for the first time, adding a new dimension to Chamäleon’s artistic diversity. “We are delighted to be able to stage this moving and poetic piece,” says Politz.
The artists did not let the pandemic-imposed disruption stop them and instead used their view of a changing world to create something completely new out of it all over again. “Together we are moving into uncharted territory, so to speak – it’s exciting and inspiring,” Politz states.
The seven acrobats who created “in_between” with Komaro love the joy of experimentation in the circus and theatre worlds: “they all represent different disciplines in which they excel, and yet have the open-mindedness to engage with each other,” says the director. The show’s cast includes such artists as the young Sini Saari, who spirals up the vertical rope so swiftly and elegantly as if it were her everyday mode of transport. Or the juggler Onni Toivonen, who keeps more than half a dozen clubs in the air, twisting and turning as if he were dancing the tango with them. Or the contortionist Alyssa Bunce, who shapes her body into new creatures while hovering over the stage on aerial rings; or the hand-to-hand acrobat Anna Shvedkova, who can switch fluently between dizzying balancing acts and playful vogueing interludes.
In addition to the individual acts, the ensemble repeatedly comes together as a group on stage, exploring the wondrous worlds of set designer Pavla Kamánova, on the ground and in the air; dancing to the hopeful, melancholy music of sound designer Atte Kantonen. There are spectacular accents, yet ostensibly “in_between” is a gentle, dreamy journey into the subconscious. “Our guests are welcome to join us in discovering a hidden world,” says Komaro. “And, in doing so, to bring to life ideas you may have had since childhood—perhaps starting with the dream of flying.”
As a child, Komaro wanted to become a magician after seeing a magician on Finnish television in 1979. He started teaching himself tricks and illusions when he was five. As a teenager, he discovered art and literature, then theatre—and finally found the perfect medium to bring his passions together in contemporary circus. “I always try to move freely between genres,” he says. “From cabaret to abstract, as an artist, a director, a magician.”
This freeness has made Maksim Komaro one of the most renowned names in contemporary circus; in addition to his work for Circo Aereo, he has also co-created several internationally successful pieces for the acclaimed Czech company Cirk La Putyka, including “Kaleidoscope,” “Slapstick Sonata” and “Senses,” which premiered in Prague as recently as December 2022. He co-founded Circo Aereo in 1996, and back then, it was the first contemporary circus company in Finland. To this day, it is considered one of the most influential and innovative in the world and has since established a second base in France and performed in more than 40 countries. The group has been awarded the Finland Prize by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture. The Ministry has also supported and promoted “in_between,” as has the renowned Alfred Kordelin Foundation and the Circo Centre for New Circus in Helsinki.
Circo Aereo’s “in_between” brings tender, at times almost fragile, images of boundless imagination to the Chamäleon. At other times it is wild and bold, filled with humour and empathy. “We don’t try to depict the world as people see it in supposed reality,” says Komaro. What people see at Circo Aereo is what they would otherwise only feel.
Previews from February 23, 2023
Premiere on March 9, 2023
Complete Season: 23 February – 30 July 2023
Director: Maksim Komaro
Performance & Choreography: Alyssa Bunce, Vejde Grind, Eetu Ranta, Sini Saari, Anna Shvedkova, Onni Toivonen, Saleh Yazdani
Light Design: Juho Rahijärvi
Set Design: Pavla Kamánova
Sound Design: Atte Kantonen
Costume Design: Kati Autere
Magic Advice: Kalle Nio
Stage Tech & Rigging: Juho Rahijärvi, Jouni Ihalainen, Hedda Liukkala Costumes: Kati Autere & Johanna Syrjä
Set & Props: Janika Holm, Jouni Ihalainen, Pavla Kamánova, Emma Komulainen, Tapio Komulainen, Kati Autere, Juho Rahijärvi, Simon-James Reynolds, Sanna Sucksdorff, Johanna Syrjä
Photos: Kalle Nio
Production: Circo Aereo
Co-Produced by: Chamäleon Berlin
With support from the Alfred Kordelin Foundation, City of Helsinki, Ministry of Education and Culture Finland, Finnish Cultural Foundation, Arts Promotion Centre Finland, Cirko Centre for New Circus Finland
Main image source: Chamäleon website.