BWW Interview: Circa's Martin Evans Dancing & Flipping For HUMANS
A most limber cast of ten acrobat/dancers from the internationally-acclaimed Australia's Circa Contemporary Circus will be performing CIRCA: HUMANS for two nights only November 1 & 2 at The Wallis. This Wallis engagement marks their southern California debut after a world tour that began 2017 in Sydney, Australia. HUMANS explores the physical limits of the human bodies morphing elements of dance, theatre and circus. I had the chance to present a few questions of Martin Evans, one of the HUMANS ensemble.
Thank you for taking the time for this interview, Martin!
How long have you been a full-time ensemble member?
I started as a full-time ensemble member at the start of 2016, so coming up to four years.
What first attracted you to join Circa?
I had a background in team sports; rugby union and water polo. When I was a student at circus school, I saw Circa perform S and was enamored by how the ensemble worked and performed as a team. Until then, I had mostly seen circus as an individual pursuit.
Is your training background in dance or acrobatics?
I studied at a circus school called the National Institute of Circus Arts in Melbourne, Australia. The main focus is, of course, acrobatics, but we had compulsory dance classes which gave us the taste of a dance background.
Circa describes itself as a contemporary circus company. When I and most people think of circus, images of clowns and animals come to mind. How would you explain Circa to your new audiences?
Circa is circus in theatres, not tents; with people, not animals. (Although sometimes we will do tents as well!)
How large is your company ensemble?
The HUMANS company is ten acrobats, but Circa's entire ensemble is made up of twenty-two acrobats currently.
Has HUMANS changed since its world premiere in Sydney, Australia in 2017?
Of course! Casts change, ideas develop and, in turn, inspire new ideas. So while the show may seem 'the same' as it was in Sydney in 2017, internally it is very different.
Do you sometimes have to adapt to the performing spaces you're booked at?
HUMANS can be booked by a variety of theatres and has been adapted in both length and staging to suit where we are. Most notably, it was created for the round with audience on all four sides, but is now normally performed to a front-on audience.
What's the performing space requirements for HUMANS in picking venues? Besides rigging a trapeze, what other apparatus does HUMANS require. Do you bring your own flooring to different venues?
HUMANS has been adapted to fit suit many different venues around the world. The show is designed to be a stripped-back experience. We do bring our own mats, but that's about it. We have a talented technical department that looks after those details, so we can concentrate on our performances.
There are ten of you performing in this production. Do you travel with stand-bys who can step in if one of your regulars get injured?
We almost never have stand-bys, we work closely with a health team back in Brisbane to stay on top of minor injuries. Each of us have our own warm up routines to keep our bodies going.
You must be so concentrated on your synchronized finely-tuned co-ordinations. Do you have various tricks to block out unexpected disruptions/distractions from the audience?
The concentration that we use in our work does its own job of shutting out the audience when we need to focus. If anything, the hardest part is letting the focus go to allow the audience to go deeper into the world we are trying to create for them.
In all the countries you've performed in, any particular audience reactions stick in your memory?
In Romania, we had a standing ovation which lasted for about ten minutes, the entirety of the last scene of the show and minutes after we had bowed.
Would you describe your pre-show rituals and warm-ups?
My warm-up takes a while as I get my body ready to go for the day. I focus on my knees, shoulders and core. We practice all of the 'big' skills in the show, and get connected as an ensemble. Finally, we share a moment in a tight circle that we call 'love' just before we step out on stage.
How dramatically different are your show diets and workouts from your off-day diets and workouts?
Ha, ha! I don't often work out on off-days. Those are for recovery! I normally eat a bit less on off-days, but I don't have a set diet.
What can Wallis audiences expect to experience when they come to see HUMANS?
I hope that audiences will experience the gamut of human emotions. They will see us use our physicality to make them think about themselves and the human species.
Thank you again for doing this interview, Martin. I look forward to meeting your HUMANS!
For November 1st or 2nd ticket availability, log onto thewallis.org