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Flash Review 1, 7-11: Running Away
to the Cirque
The Angels of Cirque Plume Descend on NYC
By Maura Nguyen Donohue
Copyright 2001 Maura Nguyen Donohue
In a world full of extreme sports
and "Jackass" MTV stars, nouveau cirque stands as a pure celebration of prowess
with profundity. My favorite theater-going experiences this year revolve around
Cirque based works. Cirque inspires belief in magic. It allows us momentary returns
to childlike awe. We are witness to a world full of angels. Or, in the case of
France's Cirque Plume, which opened last night under the big top at Lincoln Center
Festival's Damrosch Park, a world full of flying musicians, flying bicycles and
one lovable, slightly damaged, angel.
Any circus that opens with Hendrix
is my speed. Cirque Plume's "Melanges" is truly a mixing of many elements. The
evening is chock full of fantastic music composed by the charming maestro Robert
Miny, and performed with wit and adroit showmanship by Laurent Tellier and Alain
Mallet, who aside from a few turns on the trampoline plays several instruments
including the dan bau, Vietnam's monochord. One of the musician sequences included
Jean-Marie Jacquet as a literally light in the loafers tambourine player. Vocal
and musical performances by Michele Faivre, Alice Waring and Brigette Sepaser
are bewitching. Sepaser keeps us spellbound during her elegant turn on a microphone-enhanced
Christophe Carrasco has all the vibrancy
of a pup as he goads his fellow performers and laps up the adulation for his hanging
straps routine. Juggler Iris, despite perhaps being a madman, is a sincere craftsman.
When executed with great skill, juggling is unenhanced magic and the best metaphor
for a modern life. Razor-sharp focus, quick reflexes and excellent timing could
allow each of us to keep several pursuits simultaneously aloft. Iris's hat-juggling
duet with dancer Severine Allarousse is refined, witty and merely a glimpse of
the synchronicity between a man and his fated medium. Fanny Soriano's duet with
her cord also reveals an artist well-married to her chosen form. Soriano's comfort
on the rope is so natural, I imagine myself rigging a rope to my ceiling and spending
hours wrapped in what she deceptively portrays as its easy embrace. Soriano mentions
spiders in her bio and I can see where she would identify with them. This woman's
home could easily be a web.
The buoyancy of Sophie Mandoux's
turn on the trapeze left me wide-eyed and slack-jawed. I could feel my heart filling
with light. There's nothing like watching such an effervescent performer -- and
Mandoux is such a one, tiny and positively bursting with bubbles -- swing at full
force way over your head to clear out the overwhelming internal din that modern
living (or is that just NYC) brings you. Forget artistry, execution, sociopolitical
commentary or craftsmanship, because for a brief moment this will bring you down
to good ol' child-like "Wowwwwww." Brazilian-born and raised Osmar Pedro De Souza
channels his capoeira upbringing to emerge as the company's resident butterfly.
In my next life I'd like to come back as De Souza, the ultimate mixture of grace,
power, strength and flexibility. I've figured out what I'd like for my impending
birthday: at least a decade back so I can start over and run away to join the
Cirque Plume is on view at Lincoln
Center through July 21.
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