Up in the air

A young girl’s dream­land trans­forms into a mys­te­ri­ous world in Viva Cir­cus’ new pro­duc­tion.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - ARTS - By DINESH KU­MAR MAGANATHAN en­ter­tain­ment@thes­tar.com.my

IT hap­pened with­out any warn­ing. She didn’t see it com­ing. One day, it just stopped. The lul­laby. It was the only thing that soothed her, con­soled her, com­forted her and em­braced her. Now ... it was gone.

She searched far and wide for the lady who sang that heavenly song. How is she go­ing to go on now? Her dreams and the mys­te­ri­ous lady are the only means of es­cape from her dark re­al­ity.

Her ill­ness was not get­ting any bet­ter and now, this. Fran­tic and for­lorn, she sat all alone when sud­denly that lul­laby reached her ears — but it was no longer in her dreams; it was com­ing from her gar­den!

Be­wil­dered and hope­ful, she fol­lowed the voice out­side and in a very Alice-In-Won­der­land way, she was trans­ported to the mag­i­cal and mys­te­ri­ous world of the Lost Cir­cus.

Strange and colour­ful crea­tures and dark and brood­ing peo­ple in­habit this world.

Wel­come to the Se­crets Of The Lost Cir­cus ( Se­crets), the lat­est of­fer­ing by Viva Cir­cus. Com­bin­ing grav­ity-de­fy­ing ac­ro­batic acts, stun­ning vi­su­als and graph­ics, and an eclec­tic en­sem­ble of bizarre and cap­ti­vat­ing char­ac­ters, Se­crets ex­plores the fan­tasy world of a young girl named Grace set in a cir­cus realm.

Writ­ten and di­rected by Vi­vian Lea, fondly called Vee, the founder of Viva Ver­ti­cal (un­der which is Viva Cir­cus), Se­crets was in­spired by fairy­tales and clas­sic fan­tasies Vee read grow­ing up, with the added el­e­ment of cir­cus acts and ac­ro­bat- ics. For those not fa­mil­iar with this kind of the­atre, imag­ine a play show­cased à la Cirque de Soleil.

Promis­ing to en­thrall the au­di­ence with breath­tak­ing feats and a stag­ger­ing multi-me­dia back­drop, the chal­lenge Vee and Jerry Snell, Viva Cir­cus’ Artis­tic and Cre­ative Guide, took upon was to bring the per­for­mance to the next level and chal­lenge the norms of cir­cus the­atre.

“The idea is to al­ways be more vis­ual and more phys­i­cal and not to have a text based per­for­mance but some­thing that’s based on im­ages and po­etic im­agery. The rule is to bring to the pub­lic some­thing that’s not only en­ter­tain­ing but in­tel­li­gent as well.

“And I think the in­tel­li­gence comes through the in­ge­nu­ity of the artists not to take it to the first level but to the sec­ond, third or fourth level, that is to take the art style even fur­ther,” Snell said in a re­cent in­ter­view.

One such act is called the Four Per­son Syn­chro­nised Aerial Cube, where four fe­male per­form­ers will be per­form­ing grav­ity-de­fy­ing aerial stunts from a cube sus­pended in mid-air.

Amaz­ing:

“Each of the acts and char­ac­ters has an un­der­ly­ing mo­ti­va­tion that fits into the whole story and has that ex­tra layer Jerry has been talk­ing about. They are not just jug­gling or sit­ting on the cube.

“For ex­am­ple, the cube girls are rag dolls who have been aban­doned by their own­ers and now, they have to look out for each other. That’s why they catch each other ev­ery time they fall,” Vee ex­plained, re­fer­ring to the Four Per­son Syn­chro­nised Aerial Cube.

She said by amal­ga­mat­ing th­ese un­der­ly­ing mo­ti­va­tions and sto­ries of the in­di­vid­ual char­ac­ters with fairy­tales, the hearts and imag­i­na­tions of the au­di­ences can be truly cap­ti­vated.

Un­like what many Malaysian au­di­ences are ac­cus­tomed to when it comes to the­atre, Se­crets has pushed the bound­aries of the­atre with the multi-me­dia back­drop, cre­ated by lo­cal dig­i­tal com­pany Mo­tiofixo, that forms the world of the Lost Cir­cus. But the trick was not to trans­form the show into a highly mul­ti­me­dia heavy per­for­mance.

“That’s where cir­cus and per­for­mances can lose them­selves, that is, when the per­for­mance be­comes a ma­chine. We tried to avoid that with Se­crets by keep­ing the hu­man el­e­ment in it. Thus, tech­nol­ogy was used to sim­plify the scenery by trans­port­ing peo­ple to dif­fer­ent im­ageries but not hav­ing big sets and such,” Snell rea­soned. Parts of the pro­ceed will be do­nated to the In­ter­na­tional Sil­ver Rib­bon Cam­paign to raise aware­ness of cer­vi­cal can­cer amongst the youth.

It may be an en­tirely new and daunt­ing ex­pe­ri­ence to watch a story be­ing told through ac­ro­bat­ics and cir­cus acts and not to men­tion the im­pos­ing mul­ti­me­dia back­drop, but all you have to do is let go and lose your­self in the strange and en­chant­ing world of the Lost Cir­cus. Just be care­ful with the se­crets that lie there ... hid­den. Se­crets Of The Lost Cir­cus is on at the Da­mansara Per­form­ing Arts Cen­tre (H-01, Em­pire Da­mansara, Jalan PJU 8/8, Da­mansara Per­dana in Se­lan­gor) at 8.30pm (Dec 6) and 3pm and 8.30pm (Dec 7-Dec 8). Tick­ets are priced at RM80, RM100 and RM120. To pur­chase, call 03-4065 0001 or visit www.dpac. com.my.

The Four Per­son Syn­chro­nised Aerial Cube is a grav­ity-de­fy­ing act

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