Cirkopolis vol. 1: Moment présent

The Cirkopolis vol. 1 project brought together eight artists from around the world who had never met before. Lead by the respected French director Albin Warette, six acrobats and one mime artist had barely seven days to prepare an hour-long circus performance. It turned out it was enough to make a good show.

As a rule of thumb, theater productions tend to take a month or two to rehearse. In extreme cases, two weeks can pack enough rehearsals for a quality full-length performance and shorter pieces can be done in a week. However, Cirqueon – A Center For Contemporary Circus collaborated with Palác Akropolis on an attempt for the impossible: to rehearse an hour-long piece in less than seven days. To make the feat even more challenging, they invited eight circus artists from around the world who had never met before to pull it off. Seven days, five different languages, six acrobats, one mime artist and one director. Add the deserted island of Žižkov and it almost sounds like the pitch for a new reality show. Part one of the Cirkopolis suicidal mission was to be carried out under the leadership of Albin Warette, a respected French director.

I like it when circus expresses power or fragility depending on the situation the artists find themselves in. In this project, we wanted to work our way through the human dimension of each performer and use circus as the tool to do it with. It seems to me that here in Prague, contemporary circus is still new and there is a great will to work on it, which is beautiful,” explains director Albin Warette.

The only thing that was prepared for the rehearsals before the performers arrived was the theme “Le moment présent” (the present moment) which stems from the concept of the entire Cirkopolis project: things happen here and now within less than seven days. After a discussion with the director, Šárka Maršíková, the project designer and co-founder of Cirqueon, decided to bet her chips on the power of the moment. “The basic idea of the Cirkopolis project was to bring together contemporary-circus professionals who had never met before. We have three different worlds meeting here: two people who studied at the Stockholm circus university, two people from the Lido school in Toulouse and three people who studied at HAMU in Prague. Each school uses a different approach to work with the students and the fusion of the various trends and angles is extremely interesting,” describes Šárka Maršíková.

Albin Warette, who often relies on the method of motion improvisation in his creations, offers an insight into the work on the performance “I think Le moment présent (the present moment) is the essence of all creative work, at least the way I see it. It means the artist is on the stage in order to live the moment. This is what sets apart live performing arts from all other media and everything that is prerecorded in any way. We said in the beginning that since we had just seven days to create the performance, there are bound to be fragile moments in it and we need to work with them, we need to go for the energy and the confidence of the moment. We couldn’t always make ourselves understood with a language, so we started communicating using the body. And the body lives in the moment, it knows no future, it can’t imagine how it will feel tomorrow, so as far as the body is concerned, it’s always today.”

Palác Akropolis in cooperation with Cirqueon proved that seven days of concentrated artistic work can lead to meaningful results.

The full report by Linda Dušková as broadcast in Tyjátr on Radio Wave is available here.

Source: Radio Wave

photo: Patrik Borecký