It’s difficult for Annie Dugan, artistic director of Firefly Theatre and Circus, to contain her excitement about a brand-new contemporary circus performance being unveiled right here in Camrose.
The show is called Éphémère and is set for Saturday, Oct. 21 at the Jeanne and Peter Lougheed Performing Arts Centre.
Its inspiration came out of the covid-19 pandemic that swept the world. To be clear, it’s not a show about the pandemic. It’s about authenticity in a fragile world, explains Dugan.
“It’s about fragility and anarchy, and how these things are all around us in our life,” she explained.
“It’s asking the questions of who are we, and why do we do what we do when it can all disappear in a heartbeat.”
Éphémère features six performers, all of whom have a wealth of experience in the circus arts world, but also as dancers and stunt performers.
“So we have stage combat, dancing, and circus,” explained Dugan.
“This show is going to be a combination of personal moments from these artists. We’re going to be taking beauty, juxtaposing it with reality; destruction juxtaposing it with, I’m going to say, a punk rock sense of humour.”
And it’s all going to premiere in Camrose.
“You’re going to see dance trapeze. You’re going to see aerial hoop. You’re going to see a loop of silk. All of these are high in the air, and we’re going to do something that you never see anywhere, and I’m really excited about it, we’re going to do something called an upside-down loop walk” explained Dugan.
When asked about what an upside-down loop walk is, Dugan says it’s exactly as it sounds. “Imagine someone walking across the stage. Now imagine them walking across the stage, but upside-down and in the air.”
The performance coming to Camrose is unlike anything being done right now in the contemporary circus world. Indeed, Dugan says the Firefly Theatre is having special apparatus fabricated for this performance.
“We have a coach coming from Las Vegas to ensure it’s all being done properly,” she added.
“You’re going to see regular people doing extraordinary things.”
The goal is to make this performance relatable to the whole family while also entertaining the audience with true, contemporary circus action.
This one-act performance comes with a special artist residency at the Jeanne and Peter Lougheed Performing Arts Centre. The crew is slated to be at the theatre for six days, including the performance day to allow the creative team time to set the rigging and the lights, and to see how it will all look on stage.
Check out some of their work in the below video.
Without access to the theatre’s wide stage and high ceiling, plus rigging capability, it would be difficult for Firefly Theatre to get this show road ready. “We can’t replicate that base in our studio.”
“You need time to develop the methodology for setting it up in a theater. Then you need some time for the artists to get comfortable with its feel. The residency allows us to create this show, which can then be replicated in theaters all around Western Canada.”
This performance is part of the Shuman Insurance Presentation Series.
For the last 20 years, Firefly Theatre has performed on the ground and in the air, creating original live performances that combines the visceral and awe-inspiring response of the circus with the emotional response of the theatre. Their productions have taken place inside theatres, museums, convention centres and nightclubs, outside in squares and intersections, and in the air suspended from buildings.
Firefly Theatre is at the forefront of aerial theatre in Canada. Their style of storytelling creates exciting and powerful theatrical performances, providing the audience with a memorable experience. This fusion of circus and theatre has given Firefly a unique voice in the Canadian performing arts landscape.