Inevitably, it was a visual idea which lay behind the conception of circus company Mimbre’s new show The Exploded Circus which they bring to Worthing’s Pavilion Theatre from Friday, May 18 to Sunday, May 20.
As Lina Johansson, Mimbre’s joint artistic director, says: “There are a lot of photographers that photograph an explosion in a frozen moment, and I find it amazing that there can be beauty in the frozen moment of destruction. Imagine all the things that could happen in the circus if you froze them mid air.
“This was three years ago we started thinking about this. This was before Brexit happened, before Trump happened, and it felt like the change that we were living through wasn’t going to be a slow change like we usually have; it was going to be an accelerating change.
“It really feels that we are on the cusp of potentially quite dramatic changes, and I was starting to think about how do we deal with change. With Brexit, people who voted leave wanted to go back to how we were before the EU. People who voted remain wanted to stay as we are.
“And so we are looking at changes and thinking that you have to accept changes because sometimes when something happens to us, even in the hardest of times, change can be the springboard for something better, a chance for us to create something new and exciting as we spring forward. Sometimes we just need change to push us. Sometimes we think we are comfortable where we are, but sometimes even when we have got change that we don’t actually want, we can use it as a chance to move on.”
All this translates into the show.
The Exploded Circus is an all-female circus production that uses the scene of a devastated circus and its performers as an allegory to explore what we perceive as society and how we might rebuild it were our world to collapse. With striking imagery and subtle humour, the show explores themes around change, hope and belonging
“We have got this circus of performers and you can see that on a macro level. How do they relate to each other? When change comes, it is a chance not to be stuck in their rut. The clown has got a certain status, making people laugh but also being quite sad behind the make-up. What does the clown do if she is not a clown anymore? And the big aerial diva that everyone admires. What does she do if she doesn’t have the ring in which to shine?
“I don’t want to shy away from the fact that there is disagreement. They can’t agree how they want to tidy up the mess, and there are points where they want to run away and sometimes they don’t want to share the same corner. But we are social. Most of us are very social, and we want to connect with each other. And so we create something new. I think we are adaptable.
“I don’t necessarily always think that everything will be fine. The current situation where we are reliant on Trump and Putin not to fly off the handle, well, I can’t say it is a favourite position to be in, but humanity has always changed, and we have the capacity for dealing with that change. This is not just looking at a bleak idea. It is about looking at a hopeful idea. It is about how we recreate, how we reinvent, how we can think what we can do without and how we can think we can move forward.”
The Exploded Circus launches Worthing Theatres third Summer of Circus; 01903 206206.
For other stories by Phil, see: https://www.chichester.co.uk/author/Phil.Hewitt2