Acrobatic performances usually have a few elements of humor and some startling gymnastics. Gravity & Other Myths has crammed their performance of A Simple Space — playing today and tomorrow in Stewart Theatre as part of the N.C. State LIVE series — with laugh-out-loud humor and also with scarily startling, uncanny routines. The audience laughs and gasps and sometimes isn’t sure which to do when. They are fabulous.
After a quick introduction, eight performers line up way up stage; and after a moment’s apparent hesitation (perhaps, waiting to see who would start?), one of the two women runs to the middle of the stage, stands still, and shouts “falling!” She then just tilts over, straight as a board and about halfway down one of the men arrives to catch her and let her move off. He then shouts “falling!” and the same thing occurs with a another catcher.
Soon, all the acrobats have filled the stage with this repetitive action. On top of that, the pace picks up, to where it’s almost hard to keep up with it. And it becomes more complicated with variations developing, including multilevel falling and catching and multiperson falling and catching. It’s a circus, an absolutely acrobatic circus. We were all swept off our feet, so to speak, by the apparent spontaneity and the preciseness of the actions.
This established the theme for the ensuing routines, where a skill is established and then embroidered upon and made more complicated, and in ways that suggested the variations were only a portion of the repertoire for that skill but were chosen on the moment by whomever wanted to start the variation.
The routines include jumping rope with a twist, competitive handstanding, balloon animals unusually made, a backflipping competition, incredible splits by the most limber human being we’ve ever seen, morphing sculptures shaped by human bodies, body jumping, and a solo performance by the drummer employing his body as a drum and drawing the audience in to participate, along with about a dozen others. The finale is a thrilling and edge-of-the-seat scary body tossing orgy that was somehow reminiscent of the work of M.C. Escher.
According to the Show Notes, “A Simple Space is exactly what we have, stripped of everything that separates us from the audience,” and the performance is “built on sweat, grit and a passion for playfulness.” Those are well-chosen words that accurately describe the experience that awaits audiences who are lucky enough to get to this magnificent show.
The acrobats have come a long way from “Down Under” to entertain here in America and several other countries. We’re sure they will be a loved everywhere else as they were last night. The ensemble consists of Lachian Binns, Jascha Boyce, Rahinnon Cave-Walker, Daniel Liddiard, Simon McClure, Jacob Randell, Martin Schreiber, and musician Elliot Zoerner. See A Simple Space!
SECOND OPINION: Nov. 4th Durham, NC Indy Week mini-preview by Byron Woods: http://www.indyweek.com/indyweek/gravity-and-other-myths-a-simple-space/Event?oid=4865366. (Note: To read Triangle Arts and Entertainment’s online version of the Nov. 3rd Triangle Review preview by Robert W. McDowell, click http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/2015/11/australian-acrobatic-ensemble-gravity-other-myths-lives-up-to-its-name-in-a-simple-space/.)
N.C. State LIVE presents Gravity & Other Myths in A SIMPLE SPACE at 8 p.m. Nov. 6 and 3 and 8 p.m. Nov. 7 in Stewart Theatre on the second floor of the Talley Student Center, 2610 Cates Ave., Raleigh, NC 27695, on the N.C. State University campus.
TICKETS: $28 Level B and $32 Level A ($27.20 NCSU students and other students, seniors 60+, and NCSU faculty and staff).
BOX OFFICE: 919-515-1100 or http://purchase.tickets.com/.
SHOW: http://go.ncsu.edu/gravity and http://ncsu.edu/centerstage/currentseason/simplespace.html.
VIDEO PREVIEW: https://vimeo.com/116237210.
N.C. STATE LIVE’S 2015-16 SEASON: https://www.ncsu.edu/centerstage/currentseason/index.html.
PRESENTER: http://www.ncsu.edu/centerstage/index.html, https://www.facebook.com/NCStateLIVE, and https://twitter.com/NCStateLIVE.
A Simple Space (2013 circus piece): http://gravityandothermyths.com.au/a-simple-space/ (official web page).
Gravity & Other Myths (Adelaide, South Australia acrobatics ensemble): http://gravityandothermyths.com.au/ (official website), https://www.facebook.com/GOMcircus/ (Facebook page), https://soundcloud.com/sirinss/sets/a-simple-space-soundtrack (Soundcloud), https://twitter.com/GOM_Circus (Twitter page), and https://www.youtube.com/user/handstandan/videos (YouTube).
Martha Keravuori is a life-long theater artist — an actress, director, and stage manager — in North Carolina, around the country, and overseas. She has a theater degree from UNC-Greensboro, and has been active in the arts in Raleigh for the past 40 years. Martha is the retired executive director of the North Carolina Theatre Conference. Chuck Galle returned to Raleigh last year after a 17-year absence. He was active in community theater for many years, and directed the troupe of maximum-security inmates at Raleigh’s Central Prison known as the Central Prison Players. In New England, he performed on stage, on TV, and in films. He is the author of Stories I Never Told My Daughter — An Odyssey, which can be ordered on his website: http://www.chuckgalle.com/. Chuck Galle and Martha Keravuori review theater for Boom! Magazine of Cary. Click here to read more of their reviews for Boom! Magazine and here to read more of their reviews for Triangle Review and Triangle Arts and Entertainment.