It's always great to get comments on a post: especially from Dani Tougher who is taking a hard look at performance from a perspective that is informed by cabaret and dramaturgy. I think we ought to do a blog together (see how well the names can work together in the title above).
Dani talks about a circus show and nails my worries about the use of circus techniques within dance theatre:
the production I saw tried too hard to make the cohesion seem spontaneous and aspects of the show suffered: a loose theme of a 'cooking show' that gets out of hand was never fully explored and simply provided the backdrop of silks, ropes and tight-wires, and gave the opportunity for some slapstick humour and "funny" moments.
And the use of scare quotes for funny? Exactly. Humour is often the worse thing about serious theatre, when it tries to prove that it doesn't take itself seriously, and condescends to the audience.
I am going to pretend that Dani saw a show that failed to grapple with the problem of merging a form that is often about showmanship with any kind of narrative. This is where I get worried: can 'circus theatre' really take the vibrancy of the big top and focus that energy into a theatrical experience?
Circus theatre does have a better hit-rate in making my liberal self feel better about equality between the sexes - a great deal of aerial is created and performed by women. From the way Dani phrases it, it sounds as if there is a bit of fem-dom in this production.
Let's hope the government doesn't notice and try to ban it.