Drama meets physicality in ‘Polarity’

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THE DRAMA of theatre, says producer Karla Conway, meets the physicality of circus in “Polarity, a new work created in by Canberra’s Warehouse Circus.

Joshua Strachan
Joshua Strachan

“Polarity” draws the audience into the depths of a surging flood where Alexi, a young man, is trapped—very up-to-date.

Facing extreme peril, Alexi, played by Joshua Strachan revisits a troubled past where escalating crime and fleeting relationships have compounded feelings of grief and loss.

This raises the question, how do individuals and community’s weather life’s disasters?

To tell this story, performers employ physical theatre, aerials and raw acrobatics.

The concept for Polarity was developed by the creative team at Warehouse Circus who were inspired to challenge the traditional circus act or theme-based performance.

Inspiration for the story began with the image of a freak flood being the context for a young person facing a life-changing experience.

With this concept in place, Warehouse Circus invited Liv Hewson to write a short story that could be interpreted through the physical movement of circus.

Hewson had developed as an actor and writer at Canberra Youth Theatre 2010-15, and had exposure to circus performing aerial ‘tissue’.

After this time she was ‘discovered’ by Alex Newman (casting director of Glee, Supernatural and Friends)then secured management in both Melbourne and Los Angeles before her international debut in “Dramaworld” on VIKI. She recently finished shooting season two of “Top of the Lake” by Jane Campion and is now in LA filming “Santa Clarita Diet.”

Hewson’s terrific story was embraced by a production team with professional theatre credentials and then put in the hands of a creative director, so what results is an exciting fusion of theatre and circus.

Director Kon Kudo has adapted the powerful narrative to the physicality of circus. No words are spoken as the action transfers from the present time in the flood to flashbacks denoted through clever use of lighting.

‘We have highlighted important elements of the story: the flood and the key moments of Alexi’s past that give him a will to survive,” he says.

Kudo is a graduate of Warehouse Circus and founding member of Poncho Circus. He recently performed in ‘Le Petit Circus,’ travelling to Singapore and festivals in Australia. Since graduating from ANU with a degree in photo media and performing overseas, he is undertaking a residency at Canberra Contemporary Art Space.

designer, Christiane Nowak, knowns for design with The Street, Canberra Youth Theatre, QL2 and BIGhART works with trapeze, Chinese pole, straps, pulley systems and tissu to build a scaffold for circus movement within a creative stage environment. Lighting designer Gillian Schwab uses graduating layers of saturated colour to create the depths of the flood.

 “Polarity”, at The Street Theatre, Canberra City West, October, 6 – 8, bookings to thestreet.org.au or 6247 1223.


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