Performance group Cirque Eloize mixes acrobatics, juggling, cyr wheel and German wheel performances. The company are due to tour the UK with their visually arresting Cirkopolis, a stylish and sophisticated production, full of awe-inspiring acts. We speak to performer Ashley Carr ahead of the opening tonight at Sadler’s Wells’ Peacock Theatre. Carr, who the Jerwood Award and founded his own company Kicking The Moon, talks us through the creation process and the pros and cons of performing in different spaces.
A: Cique Eloize has been an established company since 1993- how have your performance techniques and disciplines developed over the years?
AC: I have been with the company since 2007. Before which I had my own circus / theatre company in England for several years. I also come from a street background. So there is already an eclectic foundation to my work. I saw Eloize play in Athens with their show Nomad and was captivated by the aesthetics and artistry of the show – there was such poetry and beauty. It was a show created by Daniele Finzi Pasca whom also created Rain the piece that I would later be the lead character in. The work I did with him took me in a new direction. Because the company performs all over the world in different venues we always to adapt to the circumstances. Performing in Cique Eloize I have learned so much about being on stage, dealing with all the unexpected things that can happen. It has taught me to be in the present in which ever theatre, country or environment I am performing.
A: Cirkopolis features sequences set in an office environment. How are you using these regular environments to enhance your performance?
AC: The office environment is just a pretext to symbolise how often we walk around with our heads looking down. We wanted to capture a feeling of repetition that leads to an unfulfilled life and a feeling of oppression, which can manifest itself in many ways. We also wanted to reflect the constant never-ending bombardment of advertising, trying to sell us things that we don’t need or even want. I think there are not many people who have not felt this at one point or another in their life. What inspires me is taking time to smell the roses, follow my passions in life and live for the moment. I want to express this through my performance so that when the viewer leaves they are altered in some very small way. This is why I work in the circus and not in a mundane office.
A: Do you feel that the inclusion of an original score helped when choreographing routines?
AC: In my opinion it is essential to work in an organic way and that involves working in real time with a live score. We make proposals for a number and Stephan makes proposals musically. Together, after the first performance and up until the 30th, we arrive at a point where symbiosis takes form. It is a long process but they are two forms of art that support each other and we wanted to create a live and original experience.
A: How important do you feel the mulitmedia nature of Cirkopolis (eg. video installations) is to circus art?
AC: Circus is live art and also influenced by many other forms, such as dance, music, sculpture, architecture, painting and many more. So the multimedia element of the performance is very important. The different mediums have to be balanced so that each puts the other in the best light. In Cirkopolis all these elements are original and evolve during the creation process. Costumes, music, lights, choreography and set design are all conceived from scratch and adapted by us as we do to them.
Cirkopolis tours to London, Canterbury, Southampton, Bradford, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Cardiff. It is at the Peacock Theatre 17 – 28 February.
Find out more at www.cirque-eloize.com.
1. Contortion Cirkopolis, Cirque Eloize.
2. Cyr Wheel Cirkopolis, Cirque Eloize.