BWW Review: THE 7 FINGERS (LES 7 DOIGTS) Wins Hearts of Audiences with Cuisine & Confessions
As part of the Tilt Kids Festival, Montreal-based circus- The 7 Fingers (Les 7 Doigts) brought a mix of circus, dance, theater, and a side of cooking to the NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts stage April 11-16, 2017. You may remember this company as they were behind the Tony-Award winning production of Pippin and had appearances on the popular TV show-America's Got Talent and the opening ceremony of the Sotchi Olympics! The Tilt Kids Festival is a cultural event for families presented by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and the French Institute presenting a series of forward-thinking events in dance, circus, visual art, music, and theater to stimulate and inspire audiences.
The 7 Fingers is known for making circus a transformative experience- and that is exactly what it was for me! In this production of Cuisine & Confessions, written and directed by Shana Carroll and Sébastein Soldevila, the stage became a giant kitchen and a place to share the comforts of food and conversation as the artists shared their personal stories and memories while fusing it with awe-inspiring acrobats! As you walked into the theater, the performers were walking around and interacting with the audience. Some folks got chocolate, some were asked to crack an egg, others got coffee, and some (including me) got a tour of the kitchen on the stage!
The show was so much fun! I enjoyed watching the performers do all kinds of different tricks from flips, lifts, and jumps across the stage. Some of my favorite parts included when two men did a number of jumps through a series of wooden frames. During this routine, they stacked the frames on top of one another and they still were able to jump and flip through! Another part was when a guy climbed up a pole that was at least 30 feet high and did these amazing balances and drops off the pole that made your heart skip a beat. There was a point where you could hear a pin drop because we were so into watching him!<
Since the set was built like a kitchen, they incorporated different items you would typically find in a kitchen into their tricks. Some included juggling with egg whisks, spinning in and out of an apron, and even eating snacks during the trick such as an apple, bread, crackers, and pudding. One of my favorite parts was when a girl used a picnic blanket to make a harness where she did some of the most spectacular aerial tricks I have ever seen! They even cooked some food during the show. There was a scene where they had pulled a girl from the audience and made her an omelet with onions, tomatoes, and cheese. They made a nice pasta dish with vegetables and herbs (which I saw them prep as I did the tour of the stage) and a loaf of banana bread that the audience could come up to the stage to receive a plate of food at the conclusion of the show.
For the confessions part, the performers told stories about their past, about their childhood. Some stories were deep, others were sad. One that stuck out to me was about a guy when he was a child living with his siblings who had different fathers and on the weekend they all spent time with their dads while he was home alone because his dad wasn't around and how that made him feel. Another story was about a guy who grew up without his dad, only to learn later that he didn't leave, but was killed in a concentration camp.
I absolutely loved this show! It was so much fun! I couldn't stop smiling when I left the theater. It was amazing the way they were able to perfectly execute these tricks. Excellent show. And the crowd would agree. You could hear the cheers and whistles as the audience gave them a standing ovation.
For more information about the group, please visit their website at www.7doigts.com.
Anna Kichtchenko and Matias Plaul in "Cuisine and Confessions" by The 7 Fingers (Les 7 Doigts) Photo Credit: Ian Douglas