I am not afraid of clowns, I adore good numbers with clowns, and the "logic" behind a good act is often the admirable work of genius. Fortunately, I was lucky yesterday, because the clowns of the Cirque du Soleil did not disappoint me one bit in "Dralion", the performance they brought to Athens and opened last night in a huge auditorium which was packed with people of all ages.
I think that Trisha Brown, the icon of postmodernism in theatrical dance, the woman who popularized dance, borrowed heavily on circus acts as she tried to fight gravity while inscribing the bodies of her performers (tied and held by ropes) in the ultra-urban environment of New York city. Last night, circus artists, walked and leaped up and down on walls, offering a transverse view of their bodies, helped by a trampoline; they created a "bridge" between site-specific performance to full-blown pop culture Spiderman -like images that left the audience speechless. "La Chambre", the work of the duo Bouvier-Obadia, with the women on the walls (of an imaginary Bluebeard) is another "relative" of the particular act I am describing from yesterday's performance.
I usually do not feel inclined to watch very large-scale spectacles, I find them too commercial, but I must admit that I felt fully engaged with the whole concept of "Dralion", despite its easy starting point, which was the itinerary to different continents, cultures, colours and music. It was a fairy-tale reconciling peoples and ethnic groups, showcasing the popular view that people essentially are different and yet similar, and that the colours of the four elements of Nature permeate all colours of life no matter where one comes from. Art, apart from being provocative, challenging in form and content (and many more), must also be humanitarian, and a mass spectacle like circus is, put successfully all that humanitarian spirit in this easily digestible concept that could be understood and its value acknowledged by an audience of ages from 4 to 104.
And there was much more: acrobats jumping through rings put up high, super agile trapeze artists dancing and hovering over the stage, an ethereal love duet with the artists holding and manipulating ribbons -and I could not but wonder whether the female part of the audience would gaze the Douglas Fairbanks-like Orientalist fantasy of a male performer with desire, as he flew in the air to catch smoothly his partner...There was design in space done by the manipulation of fabric in the Loie Fuller manner, there was leaping and jumping and singing and dancing and danger and defying gravity constantly and juggling with balls and even a group of "naughty" girls with pig-tails dressed in school uniform-like costumes which reminded of the Japanese gang of assassin teenagers in Tarantino's movie "Kill Bill I"; these girls performed alternating from unison to solos and then to unison again balance acts and juggling and they were superb!
"Dralion", the spectacle of almost 50 performers, was worth every penny plus the short "journey" to the northern suburbs of the city in realtively packed streets, it was good fun, it was quality act with great performers. It helped get our minds off the crisis and reconsider. Especially take a step back, not forget, but reconsider.This is one crucial aspect of art; isn't it?