Cirque Eloize to bring ‘Rain’ to Seoul for Asian premier

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Cirque Eloize to bring ‘Rain’ to Seoul for Asian premier

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Just as Korea’s annual monsoon season is about to end, downtown Seoul can expect another downpour next week when the Asian premier of the art circus “Rain” opens July 11 at the Sejong Center for Performing Arts. When the skies break open, they will reveal a stunning display of gravity-defying acrobatics, staged by Quebec-based Cirque Eloize, who leap nimbly between the genres of circus, musical, drama and poetry.
More than a decade after Cirque du Soleil mesmerized the world, Cirque Eloize, featuring a similar new-style circus, was formed in French-speaking Quebec. If Cirque du Soleil took the circus form to a grand and glitzy Las Vegas format, Cirque Eloize has gone arthouse with a storyline by Swiss-born playwright and director Daniel Finzi Pasca, whose words resonate nostalgia and humanity. Pasca is best known for directing the ending ceremony of the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin earlier this year.
Cirque Eloize was founded in 1993 by graduates of L’Ecole National de Cirque de Montreal, who shared a passion for developing a new circus art in a unique space. With productions such as “Excentricus” (1997), “Cirque Orchestra” (1999) and “Nomade” (2002), Cirque Eloize’s two touring troupes have given more than 1,400 performances in some 200 cities in 20 countries worldwide. Its latest production, “Rain,” began to tour in the U.K., in Manchester, Edinburgh and Cardiff, in 2003. In 2005, the show did a five-month tour of the U.S. and made it to New York’s off-Broadway for four weeks, following much-acclaimed performances in San Francisco.
For the Korean show, 11 circus artists of three nationalities (American, Canadian and Polish) will be accompanied by 20 production crew members and a four-strong management team. An additional five engineers will provide water effects, pouring the equivalent of 50 milliliters of rain onto a specially made rubber pad mounted onstage.
After Korea, the troupe is scheduled to perform in Australia, at Brisbane from July 26 to 29 and Melbourne from August 1 to 20.
With “Rain,” the universal language of entertainment for all is built upon stunning technical prowess ― without any live animals and clowns. The acrobatic acts include contortion, diablo tricks, slack wire walking, solo hand balancing, the German wheel and more. Contortion, requiring extreme flexibility of performer’s ligaments, tendons and joints to form extreme positions, is not only performed on the stage but also in the air ― in a metal hoop suspended by a pulley and cable from the ceiling. The Cyr Wheel is another highly technical act created by Daniel Cyr, acrobat and co-founder of Cirque Eloize. The apparatus consists of a very narrow wheel the height of a man, which an acrobat tames like an animal trainer, using a unique technique and theatricality.
Set in a theater where a circus show is in rehearsal, the narrative blends reality, memories and dreams. Protagonists reveal fragments of love stories and passers-by look as if they have stepped from the pages of olden-day photo albums. Distant pasts come to life as emotions burst from the performers’ bodies. A vast sky appears, and with the rain, as it envelopes, pours down and splashes, the performers movements are fluid yet dynamic. Added to this are lyrical piano melodies and a chorus, in English and French, from the performers. The mood is at first delightful and even humorous at times and then sweetly sentimental and touching. Despite the dramatic use of raindrops, the notion of rain, the audience comes to realize, is only symbolic.


by Ines Cho

“Rain” starts at 8 p.m. weekdays at the Sejong Center for Performing Arts; 3 and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday and 7:30 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets (90,000 won, or $85, 60,000 won and 40,000 won) are available through Interpark 1544-1555, Ticketlink 1588-7890 or Clip Service (02) 501-7888. For more information in English, visit www.credia.co.kr/news/2006/rain_eng_news.htm, or call Credia at (02) 598-8277.
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