Shows added through to March 13
By Crystal Chan
PSY is an on-stage meditation on psychiatric disorders. And it’s the funnest time many will ever have in a theatre.
Les 7 doigts de la main premiered their newest production in Montreal at TOHU (Les 7 doigts de la main inaugurated the circus space in 2004), fresh from touring a non-finished version to great acclaim in Sweden.
The show features 11 high-energy, multi-talented performers. Each portrays a particular mental malady: insomnia, amnesia, paranoia, hypochondria. Through their acts, which include a remarkable Chinese pole number, German wheel, juggling, trapeze, and much more, each psychological disorder is explored. At times funnny, scary, or melancholy, these scenes are astonishing in an ‘impossible’-seeming way while also ironically able to evoke something for everyone to relate to and ponder. Audiences can also relate to the use of street clothes garb, one way the production distances itself from traditional and mega-budget circus. And after all, circus at its roots is entertainment for the everyman.
Circus was for the everyman what opera was for the elite: the ultimate multidisciplinary art. And the command over all arts – not just the acrobatic – is the forte of PSY. PSY combines technique and artistry from theatre and dance set perfectly to music. The result offers all the dazzling daredevilry one expects from circus while holding together as a cohesive stage show that is much more than the sum of its parts. Each multitalented performer is first and foremost a member of the troupe, appearing in the majority of each of the scenes. This is no vaudevillian act-to-act sideshow: the subtlety and emotion evoked is closer to what one usually sees in modern dance and theatre. Of course, the strong incorporation of story to every act makes for sometimes brilliant, but sometimes bizarre scenes – including a boxing ring match scene underlining the anger issues of a character wherin the ropes of the ring then become used for aerial rope. This seemed forced in execution.
On the whole, however, the emphasis on the theatre and dance aspect of circus here is to be much lauded. Mention must also be made of the wizardry of the PSY mise-en-scène, which featured a constantly collapsing and evolving set.
INFO: The show has already been booked solid in 2010 for a North American and European tour, and your last chance to see in Montreal is now until March 13. There are only four shows left that have not been sold out. See it at TOHU, Circus Arts City is at 2345 Jarry St. E. (corner Iberville). For information contact (514) 376-8648 or (888) 376-8648 or visit www.tohu.com.
“PSY; un mariage acrobatique du corps, de l’esprit et de l’âme.”
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