Artists delve back into past to create theatrical extravaganza

Eight acrobats will travel back in time this weekend as the new circus "Reversible” will be presented by Les 7 Doigts de la Main at Shanghai Children’s Arts Theater.
Ti Gong

Eight acrobats will travel back in time this weekend as the new circus “Reversible” will be staged by Les 7 Doigts de la Main at Shanghai Children’s Arts Theater.

Through a unique, riveting mix of theater, circus, dance, music and acrobatics, “Reversible” is dedicated to a generation who forged the world that we live in today and whose stories might hold the key to a better tomorrow.

All the stories are based on real-life tales from the performers’ own families, according to Isabelle Marie-Lys Chasse, artistic director of Les 7 Doigts de la Main, from Canada. They will travel back in time and stage what their grandparents have been through in a certain point of their lives by acrobatic performances.

In the creative process, the cast were asked to look into their genealogy, to their grandparents or even great-great-grandparents.

“I wanted them to create characters based on where they came from, a past that they were not even aware of. The idea was that in studying the past, they might see a deeper, stronger path to how they became the people that they are. And the idea was that we would then construct characters to tell the story, based on events that occurred in these artists’ DNA pool over the last 150 years,” said Gypsy Snider, creator of “Reversible.”

Every day the cast came back with a new story about their grandparents or their great-grandparents, things they had no idea about. One girl found out that she was Jewish, but she had no idea. Another girl who is Swiss found out that her Japanese grandmother had abandoned an arranged marriage in Japan and ran away with a Swiss man. She became the first woman to emigrate to this tiny Swiss village.

“The stories are just incredible. What we’re feeling in this current generation is that we are uprooted. We are not as connected to the family and past as we were even 50 years ago,” said Snider.

Walls representing the exterior or interior play important roles in “Reversible” to create the amazing traveling-back-in-time journey.

“Once I established this world, within which I wanted to create the show, the idea of having these two-sided walls helped me define the storytelling, which very clearly became about who we are on the inside and who we are on the outside. Our reversible selves,” said Snider.

Date: August 11, 7:30pm; August 12-13, 2:30pm, 7:30pm

Tickets: 80-480 yuan

Tel: 6366-0000, 400-921-5686

Venue: Shanghai Children’s Arts Theater

Address: 800 Miaojiang Rd

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