The audience enters a large abandoned industrial-space. It’s barren; no sight or speck of the performance which promises to unfold in this overwhelming high-ceiling space. They busy themselves with taking a seat, finishing up conversations that started outside, awkwardly smiling to the fellow next seat, scrolling the last feeds on the phone – a sense of eeriness mixed with a sliver of anxiousness fills in as everyone waits for the show to begin. And suddenly, at the very far end of the space, you see a drone – 15 feet high in the air. Was it there from the time we entered? Did it just arrive? Has it been filming us all this while?
This is how the circus performance odyssey DAR begins, unpacking the primal emotion of fear in its subtleties to take its audience on a journey to experience and witness the varied multitudes of fear ranging from unease-discomfort-anxiousness-panic to paralysing terror.
MOVEDBYMATTER started the research phase of this project in the beginning of 2022, taking themes of masculinity and war with reflection to the emotion of fear as its initial points of departure. The word ‘dar’ came from this research phase which means a ‘male-bee’ in Dutch. The Dutch word ‘dar’ when translated in English is drone.
TRANSDISCIPLINARY CIRCUS PERFORMANCE
This contemporary circus production is an ambitious project by MOVEDBYMATTER, bringing not only a variety of disciplines, but also the human & non-human to explore the overarching theme of fear. To fragment it, for the sake of clarity, the research till date has been divided as per three stations:
– a child and a drone (operated by a drone pilot)
– a swarm of parkour runners
– a neo-soul & afro-jazz singer and David-Lynch-ish composition
Each of these stations or imageries will be present throughout the performance in relation with each other.
The Child & the Drone
A 8-9 year old child is inquisitive, curious yet cautious of things that could be dangerous. They are learning the codes of society yet not tarnished by them completely. Alongside, there is a drone; on one hand, used for amusement, yet on the other, used as a cutting-edge technology to aid surveillance and war. The poetic choreography between the two will be developed in collaboration with a drone pilot, enhancing the human and non-human aspect and unravelling the dual-relationship between the two – the drone has a visor that guards the child, but inevitably also threatens him/her.
© Thomas Nolf
The live drone imagery will be projected during the performance on a massive screen, creating a divide between what is happening in front of your eyes vs how technology reads it with its 2D vision.
The swarm of Parkour artists
The second imagery of the performance is centred around a constantly-in-making, obstacle-based, installation structure manipulated by a swarm of parkour artists. Parkour is a contemporary circus athletic-acrobatic discipline fuelled by adrenaline with its history rooted in military obstacle training and non-western martial art forms. It’s a discipline that requires very little: the space/architecture itself is the apparatus.
In the performance, the parkour runners are in constant motion, underpinning the negotiation between the rush of adrenaline vs paralysing fear before one makes each jump. They are almost representatives of the neo-capitalist world – where we are human ‘doings’ night and day injected with do more/buy more/never stop/work hard-play harder philosophy whilst ‘being’ in perpetual anxiety combating stress-inducing situations through fight-flight-fawn responses.
Parkour is a rather new discipline into the world of contemporary circus and with much deliberation has been imagined as the foundation for the performance DAR, as it is more than any other circus discipline ingrained in the constant play with danger. With no safety nets to perform under, the discipline is a constant negotiation of analysing fear – to either push against or overcome and take the plunge!
The parkour performance will be developed together with the Hamburg-based parkour runners – Renae Dambly & Matt McCreary – along with two student-internships from the Academy of Circus and Performance Arts (ACAPA), Tilburg, Netherlands and two amateurs parkour performers from circusschool Circus in Movement in partnership with Springstof Parkour, Leuven, Belgium.
The neo-soul singer ‘Oriana Ikomo’ in collobaration with composer ‘Johannes Verschaeve’
Another prominent aspect of the performance is the musical collaboration between neo-soul and afro-jazz Belgian singer Oriana Ikomo and Belgian music composer Johannes Verschaeve who’s style is in-between show and sincerity, linking grandiose with banal.
Johannes has been developing hissing rhythm boxes and primitive synths for the score of DAR. With the rhythm boxes he will impose a tight, polyrhythmic cadence on the performance, especially for the parkour/circus artists to create a David Lynch atmosphere. Having collaborated with Oriana in the past for the performance ‘Losers Get Lost’ by Kopergieterij Gent; this time with DAR the duo imagines to blend the Afro-cool of Oriana with the crooked aesthetic of Verschaeve – looking for the grey zone between voice and synths; including the “vocoder”, a synth through which Oriana will speak and sing live in the performance.
DAR zit momenteel in de creatiefase.
Première zomer 2024 in Gent.
Concept & Direction Kasper Vandenberghe
Co-Direction & Dramaturgy Nikita Maheshwary
Financial advisor Wim Viaene
Producer MBM Wouter Vermeylen
Production Manager Kaat Balfoort
Artistic Coordinator Kasper Vandenberghe
Parkour Performers & Coach Renae Dambly & Matt McCreary
Parkour Performers Tim van den Bos de Lucas
Parkour amateur performers TBD w/ support of Springstof Parkour, Leuven
Music Composer Johannes Verschaeve
Singer & Performer Oriana Ikomo
Drone Pilot Simon Neels
Children Cast a children cast of 3, TBD in August 2023 with support of Kopergieterij Gent
Scenography Jan Rymenants
Outside eye – Dramaturgy Matthias Velle
Outside eye – Creative design Katrien Bruyneel
Costume Design Tina Heylen
Co-production/Partners Flemish government (Circus Department) | Taxshelter Perpodium | Cirklabo Leuven| Dommelhof Pelt | C-Takt | Kaap | Miramiro Gent
Thanks to Kopergieterij Gent | VierNulVier Gent | Mad festival | Handelsreizigers in ideeën