Bodies suspended in mid-air, haunting folk songs echoing through a mix of pulsing melodic, lyrical poems to ancestors - these are the most striking elements of Circo Zero, the latest theatrical event developed by San Francisco-based artist Keith Hennessy.
If you like the talents of Cirque du Soleil, but yearn for less Vegas-style excess, Circo Zero provides a well-thought mix of acrobatics, gymnastics, choreopoems with a solemn undercurrent of wartime symbolism.
What more stunning way to consider the fate of World trade Center victims than by watching performers Amanda Starr, Benn Mendoza & Susan Voyticky actually falling through the air, only to stop abruptly and slowly collapse to the ground? While avoiding the already cliched patriotism of such remembrances by exploring the larger issue of war in general, Circo Zero simply blends human longing for our mortal loss with clean, non-glitzy aerialist artistry.
Director Keith Hennessy brings his highly regarded performance style to this collaborative event. Long a creative spirit with his 848 Community space and other contributions, Circo Zero has achieved a larger success by bringing circus elements into a much more profound theatre experience.
Gabriel Todd & Loren Olds harmonize traditional folk songs in haunting ways, as Neal Stewart plays some of the most melodic electronic tunes that greatly enhance the dance-gymnastics onstage.
Lighting designer Elaine Buckholtz continues her history of supporting and enhancing a show through innovative ways.
The warehouse performance space of Theatre Artaud is expanded to its maximum advantage, offering arena seating and the grid of windows as a factory/cathedral backdrop.
You should see it twice to enjoy the various angles from which to enjoy the multi-layered, swinging, dangling tumbling event.
Theater Artaud, 450 Florida St. @ 17th St., San Francisco
Tickets: (415) 863-9834 or www.ticketweb.com
Created in collaboration with:
Amanda Starr, Benn Mendoza & Susan Voyticky - aerial arts
Tyler Downing - tumbling, trampoline
Jade-blue Eclipse - hand balance, contortion
Gabriel Todd & Loren Olds - vocals
Neal Stewart - beats/electronics
Elaine Buckholtz - lighting design
Ellen Sebastian Chang - directing coach
Frederique Debitte - aerial coach