Thursday 30 November 2023

ON/OFF review

We all have different parts of ourselves that emerge depending on our environment. This could be at work, home, social and anything in between. In ON/OFF, NICA’s third year Bachelor of Circus Arts students bring their on stage and off stage personas together in a distinctive production that allows them to present their skills and share their thoughts on what drew them to circus.

From the instant you enter the space, you can see this won’t be a traditional circus performance. Backstage has been transported into the theatre and you literally need to walk through it to reach your seat, getting up close and personal with the ensemble as they warm up, put final touches to their hair and make-up, and make any costume adjustments.

The blurring of life on and off the stage is heightened with pre-recorded segments and live feeds of the real backstage displayed on curtains between acts. Audio recordings of the cast has them discussing opinions on circus and performance, including pre-show preparations and rituals. As ON/OFF continues, the conversations lead to what drives their passion for circus (it’s not just to be fit and hot!) and the joy of performing in front of people. It’s a brilliant opportunity to hear from people who generally don’t speak during a show and get a deeper awareness of why they do what they do and the impact that circus, community, and collaboration has had on them.

With 19 solo acts and one duo, curator James Brown has ensured that even when a performer is using the same or similar apparatus, the act itself remains unique. Highlights include Maya Davies on the Chinese pole, Celso March’s comedic tightwire routine, Amy Stone’s tissu act and Griffin Hooper’s dazzling swinging trapeze.

ON/OFF is a well-considered production that gives each artist their moment in the spotlight. How it goes beyond that is by giving the audience a glimpse into their minds and their non-performing selves resulting in a better understanding, insight and appreciation about what has brought this talented group to the stage, and will hopefully keep them there for years to come.

Show Information

Venue: NICA National Circus Centre, 39-59 Green Street, Prahran.
Season: Until 2 December | 2:00pm and 7:30pm
Tickets: $40 Full | $32Conc
Bookings: NICA

Image credit: Daniel Rabin

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