Arts

Published: Thursday December 5, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Thursday December 5, 2013 MYT 8:57:43 AM

Up in the air

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

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.

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

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 acrobatics. 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.

“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.

Tags / Keywords: Lifestyle, Entertainment, Secrets of the Lost Circus, Vivian Lea, Viva Circus, Jerry Snell, acrobatics, circus acts, theatre, DPAC

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