BWW Reviews: A SIMPLE SPACE Thrills Spoleto Audiences
GRAVITY AND OTHER MYTHS is an Australian physical theatre troupe that redefines the boundaries of traditional circus entertainment. Featuring seven acrobats and a percussionist, the ensemble's astonishing feats of physical strength, rhythm, flexibility and precision teamwork delighted audiences at Charleston's Spoleto Festival during the festival's opening weekend.
The troupe performed their award-winning piece, A SIMPLE SPACE, in the Emmett Robinson Theatre on the College of Charleston campus. A full house of around 400 audience members was seated around four sides of a simple tumbling mat. At the corners of the mat, lighting poles supported lamps that were turned on and off manually by the performers throughout the performance. Costumes were simple t-shirts and pants for the men, and sports bras and dance shorts for the women. The simplicity of the staging elements placed full focus on the amazing physicality of these engaging young performers and their gravity-defying stunts.
Audience members seated in the first row were mere inches away as performers went through a highly choreographed and thrilling sequence of playful acrobatic feats. The troupe members played strip jumprope, dove from heights into the arms of waiting castmates and even balanced on their heads while solving a Rubic's cube.
The spatial proximity between audience and performer evoked audible laughs, ooh and ahhs from the spectators, as the troupe tumbled and spun a hair's-breath away. Audience members were invited to get in on the fun during one sequence involving pit balls; during another sequence, a member of the troupe balanced on the bodies of cast members and audience members lying in a circle on the mat. The shared comraderie between performers and spectators spilled over into the lobby after the show, when troupe members assembled to greet and chat with audience members.
The six men and two women held the audience breathless for an unforgettable celebration of the human body and the power of play. It was 53 minutes of unqualified delight.
Photo Courtesy A SIMPLE SPACE
From This Author Debra Charlton