solo performance about the last circus on earth
Artistic director, concept, computing: Hiroko Tanahashi
Actors (New York performances): Harold Levine, Jake Lipman
(Berlin performances):Reinhard Schiele, Marina Quesada
Acting Directors: Ronit Muszkatblit, Max Schumacher
Video Artists: Niels Dachler, Daniel Lir
Animator: Kenji Ishimaru
Sound: Eric Monse
Costume: Julie Levine (New York), Junko Kosaka (Berlin)
Architect: Christian Fuchs
Dramaturg :Klaus Fehling, Pascal Molenat
Producer: Max Schumacher
The Last Circus (1st version of The Final Act]
2002 Solo Duo Festival, Theater am Halleschen Ufer, Berlin
2002 de:BUG, Parsons Gallery, New York
to the Golden Circus! My name is Toto. Please keep your umbrella
up, I do not want you to get wet!"
The Last Circus is a solo performance, in which the audience membersf
active interaction with the live performer, the environment, and
the video projection is absolutely essential for the performance
to take place.
The performance takes place in a black box where there is no architectural
separation between the audience and the stage. Four audience members
are admitted per performance and each performance lasts for about
10 minutes. The audience members will first enter gthe changing
roomh where they are asked to wear raincoats and rain boots. Two
umbrellas equipped with Infrared LEDs are also distributed to them.
Then they will enter gthe arenah where the actual performance
takes place. This is where the audience members will meet the character
Toto, who will guide them throughout the performance.
The audience will discover the story of gThe Last Circush by exploring
the space, by interacting with the video projection with the umbrella
as the interface, and by building a relationship with Toto.
The time is the future and the place is an unspecified urban landscape
of constant rain. Radical advancements in technology have tremendously
impacted human life-style lending the word grealityh a new meaning.
Spurred on by new developments in simulation technology, audiences
have deserted gpassiveh activities in favor of interactive experiences
where the very term audience no longer applies. In art and entertainment,
live performance has been declared dead. Performing artists, as
a result, find themselves on the street.
Toto, our protagonist, was once the proud owner of The Golden Circus.
With twenty-two members and a tent the likes of which no one had
ever seen, this circus was not just any circus. It was a sight to
behold. Some people even used to call it gpoetic.h Renowned for
its technical excellence and refined design, The Golden Circus was
indeed so popular, Toto had to hold extra shows on weekdays to accommodate
the great demand.
Hard as it is to believe, though, fame, glory and success are now
things of the past. Little by little, audiences dwindled. Troupe
members chose different, more lucrative careers such as content
providers for simulation agencies. And before he knew it, Toto found
himself alone with Halo, a tightrope acrobat. When the government
regime officially announced the death of performance, The Golden
Magic lost what little property it still had. The magnificent tent
was taken down. Toto despaired. And so did Halo.
But Toto and Halo could not simply give up. True, they had no tent,
no troupe, and no audience even, but they had passion. When all
others had left, they stayed on still, in the square where the tent
used to be. Where else could they spend their lives? With an absolute
determination, they decided to give it one more shot. The only way,
they said, to win back the circus was to prove to the city official
that the public still needs them. And so, they swore then and there
to perform outside, every day, come rain or shine, in the now empty
square where their tent once stood proudly.
These days, it rains constantly but Halo flips through the air on
the tightrope while Toto approaches passersby: gLook at her marvelous
movement! A real acrobat, really acrobatic!h But no one on the
street is interested. They say nothing and quickly shuffle on. Toto
and Halo say it must be the weather and they wonft ever give up.
Theyfll keep performing, dreaming of the day when a cheering, clapping
crowd fills their empty square once more. Now only if the rain could