The art of acrobatics
The Creative Lead for the GC2018 arts and culture program, Yaron Lifschitz, is also Artistic Director of the ground breaking circus company, Circa.
Circa’s production of Il Ritorno comes to The Arts Centre Gold Coast on Friday 26 and Saturday 27 August.
Yaron explains how Il Ritorno challenges traditional expectations of circus.
In just over a decade, the Brisbane-based company Circa has toured to 34 countries across six continents, with work that has been rapturously received by audiences, presenters and critics around the world.
Circa’s latest work, Il Ritorno, is visually stunning, fusing extraordinary acrobatics with baroque opera. It retells Claudio Monteverdi’s 17th Century opera Il Ritorno D’Ulisse in Patria (The Return of Ulysses to his Homeland), intermingling it with folk song and new compositions.
Circa’s Artistic Director Yaron Lifschitz says ‘… for the past 17 years I have believed, naively, totally and to the embarrassment of many doubters that this genre of circus is a real art form. That it can express deep emotions and higher truths, that it can grapple with issues, exalt our spirits and touch our souls.’
Of Il Ritorno, Yaron says ‘I wanted to break it all. To rebuke off those who think opera is about sets and warbling, to annoy those who believe circus is an extension of the strip club or adolescent technicolor lycra fantasy.’
‘With Quincy Grant, our exceptional musical collaborator, we fashioned a world out of Monteverdi as a tale within a tale – surrounded by Mahler, folksong and Quincy’s own compositions. With our singers we asked them to sing across style with a multitude of bodies and stagings around, over and in the middle of them. And with our acrobats we, as always, challenged them to embrace the new, invest themselves and pursue what is vital and necessary.’
The story of Il Ritorno follows the Greek hero Ulysses returning home after twenty long years of war and wanderings, desperate to reach his faithful wife Penelope before she succumbs to her suitors. At the core of Il Ritorno is the hunger to return home – saturated with loss and war, powered by longing and haunted by the past.
‘The world today is seething with millions who wander the globe in search of home. It is haunted by the numberless ghosts of those who died in the horrors of war and genocide. It would be absurd to imagine that what we do, in a small room in Brisbane, can really make a practical difference. But I doggedly believe that when we challenge ourselves, when we make it personal, when we try communicate difficult, inexpressible things and when we share them, raw, vulnerable and without the safety net of convention then we have continued to help a little to keep culture alive – culture which may be our only defense.’
Circa is at the frontier of new circus – creating powerful works of circus art that challenge, thrill and delight. At the centre of Circa is the art. Shows that push the boundary of the circus artform, blur the lines between movement, dance, theatre and circus.