An acrobatic exploration of the scarred beauty of the place we call home, Circa and Merrigong Theatre Company have joined forces to create Landscape with Monsters in an Australian premiere at the Illawarra Performing Arts Centre from 17 March 2016.
Inspired by the Illawarra region’s evolving industrial landscape and the uncertainty that change brings, Landscape with Monsters was conceived when Circa visited Wollongong as part of an extensive Australian tour in 2014. Artistic Director Yaron Lifschitz and the Circa ensemble have worked with Merrigong Theatre Company to create a breathtaking, visceral and beautiful new work of circus-theatre.
“Landscape with Monsters responds to our country in transformation,” says Lifschitz. “We dig, we mine, we build, we manufacture. As industries evolve great natural beauty meets the scars of our activities. This work aims to explore how the landscape is imprinted on our bodies and how we carry it with us.”
“This work also represents a number of firsts for Circa. This is the first time we have really infused circus work with video art, soundscapes and objects, marking the creation of a new style of circus-theatre. It is also the first time that we have created a work to be performed on a hard floor.”
Over the course of a heart-stopping 75 minutes, the acclaimed Circa ensemble smash, crash, hold on, caress, uplift and balance as inner and outer landscapes collide.
“At the heart of Circa’s work is the raw humanity of the artists – after their skills and physical prowess has passed, you remember the looks in their eyes, the sweat, the fragility of the human body, and their presence as they put it all on the line. This unbridled humanness is at its most present and extreme in Landscape with Monsters,” adds Lifschitz.
Merrigong Artistic Director / CEO Simon Hinton says, “Merrigong wanted to bring in an artist of the calibre of Yaron, and his ensemble, to respond to our environment and sense of place. We were interested in exploring the scars – both on the landscape and on the community – of the city’s emergence from its industrial heyday.”
“Key to producing this work was the involvement of some key Illawarra creative minds, notably Daryl Wallis and Toby Knyvett, two artists we’ve worked with numerous times, who have both a strong understanding of what this environment is, and connections to this community. It’s been a fascinating process to witness the artistic response of these different artists to the particulars of a place.”
“Importantly, there is a universal resonance to this work, of what it means to be human in an industrial landscape. As such, this extraordinary piece of theatre is already engendering interest from performing arts venues around the world,” added Hinton.
Yaron Lifschitz has directed over 60 productions including large-scale events, opera, theatre, physical theatre and circus. His works have been reviewed as being “stunning”, “exquisite” and “the standard to which all other circuses can aspire”. He was the youngest director ever accepted into NIDA’s prestigious graduate director’s course, and was recently appointed as the Creative Lead for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games arts and cultural program.
Brisbane-based Circa is widely recognised as the frontier of new circus, creating powerful works that bend genres and that challenge and thrill audiences. Their singular, sophisticated brand of circus has been seen by over half a million people in 34 countries across the globe. Recent works include: Beyond, Carnival of the Animals, Horizon with Angels, Il Ritorno (The Return), and Opus.
Director: Yaron Lifschitz Ensemble: Gerramy Marsden, Rudi Mineur, Kathryn O’Keeffe, Paul O’Keeffe, Shannon Vitali, Billie Wilson-Coffey Associate Director: Alice Lee Holland Sound Designer: Daryl Wallis Lighting & AV Designer: Toby Knyvett Costume Designer: Libby McDonnell
Landscape with Monsters
IMB Theatre – Illawarra Performing Arts Centre, 32 Burelli Street, Wollongong
Performances: 17 – 20 March 2016
Bookings: (02) 4224 5999 or online at: www.merrigong.com.au
For more information, visit: www.circa.org.au for details.
Image: Landscape with Monsters (supplied)