Friday, 3 June 2016

Dramaturgy with Eggs: Natalie Reckert @ Edfringe 2016

Image - Selfie with Eggs is a spectacular and comic self-portrait of an acrobat. A highly skilled one-woman experiment to test the limits of the body and the stability of quite a few eggs... 

Natalie Reckert presents 'a feat of handstand endurance' - a piece of gravity defying circus to turn the Edinburgh Fringe upside down'.

Natalie Reckert's funny, smart and spectacular one-woman show is coming to Zoo Venues this Edinburgh Fringe.

@ZOO       |       Venue number 124       |      5th - 13th August       |       16:00

Contemporary circus and stand-up comedy meets electro-robotics in a feat of handstand endurance.

What was the inspiration for this performance?

I have been working as a handbalancer for more than ten years now and over time I have created many different types of performances. At some point I realized that I had accumulated a lot of material and I decided to put it all together.

I also noticed that my approach to circus was different from a lot of shows that I have seen. I am not interested in adding a narrative but rather in uncovering the narrative or personal story that is inherent in what I do. 

Therefore the show is about why I like to be on stage, what I like about doing a handstand and what this makes me feel like. It is a type of radical honesty or realism that is built around my circus discipline. I grew tired of trying to find an excuse for doing handstands on stage by imposing a narrative. So this show is about the handstand. And what the handstand communicates.

How did you go about gathering the team for it?
The team? There is just me in a way.

And the co-director Caroline Intrup, who I found on the internet cause needed a voice coach. I was not looking for a director. But then we ended up working on the overall composition of the piece in a very productive way. It was a coincidence.

Kalena Leo took pictures for the show. I love her work, that is why I asked her.

Dave Grossmann created the design for print and posters. Likewise I knew his work and liked it.

How did you become interested in making performance?
Initially it was a way to present my skills as a handbalancer. It then became a way of communicating feelings and images in a way that I cannot communicate with words.

Was your process typical of the way that you make a performance?
Yes, I carry a vague idea around for a long time. And then suddenly it all becomes clear and I know what to do.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?
I hope that the audience will find themselves immersed in the movement and the physical intensity of the performance. But also in the text and the different layers of meaning that it offers. I hope they will carry home images and feelings that they could have not experienced in any other context. 

I hope they will enjoy my favourite electronic dance music.

I hope that there are moments of realness. Real risk. Real emotions. Real situations.

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?
Well every aspect of the show is designed to be accessible in various ways: on a visual level and through sound or the content of the words. 

There are a multitude of strategies, some of which I may not be aware of using.

As a starting point I try to ask myself, what is it really about? Why do you want to have 40 meters of sandwich paper on stage? I could pretend that this has some deep and complicated reason. But the truth is that I like the crisp sound the paper makes, I like the look of it and I wanted to wrap up my handstand table in a white material. And it only costs 60p per pack. 

So as this show is about being real that is exactly what I tell the audience. 

They find it very funny.

It is cheeky and surprising to tell the truth on stage.

Sometimes I pretend that a situation is real:
I am pretending to do a handstand for as long as I can. I make the struggle look real. 

But it is fake. I can stay in a handstand for 15 minutes. If we all sat there looking at my real 15 minute struggle, it would not be that exciting. So I pretend to be really badly struggling for like 4 minutes. Then I stop and I tell them it was fake, that I was not really struggling. They laugh a bit but they a re not quite sure what to believe.

Do you see your work within any particular tradition?
Although I do circus I do not see myself in the tradition of circus.
This is somewhat disappointing for the circus community, but I would not place myself within an circus context.

In this show I use acrobatics and handbalancing but my approach is more in line with realism in contemporary dance or performance art. Or constructivist graphic design. I am interested in exploring physical limits and I am interested in design patterns. The handstand has a very clean design and at the same time a physically extreme shape. I like to move between the real and the intentionally designed.

Selfie with eggs is a self-portrait. It is playful and honest but there is also some plain attention seeking and pretending. And in that way it is realist again.

Against a background of electronic music Natalie Reckert performs over half the show in a handstand. Whilst upside down she lets us into the world of the handstand, and how her limbs are slowly starting to melt from the heat that rises in her body.

She takes us into a universe where arms and legs become pieces of liquorice and the head becomes a cherry that is about to explode.

Heavy beats blend with her robotic movements above a field of raw eggs. Image - Selfie with eggs has toured in Germany, the UK and in Czech Republic, a pioneering piece of German contemporary circus, offering a daring portrait of the real (and often painful) world of a circus acrobat.

Writer & Performer: Natalie Reckert

Co-director: Caroline Intrup

Running time: 50 minutes

Praise for Image - Selfie with eggs

“If Kraftwerk made circus, it would look something like this. It sounds like it’s going to be angular, arty and obscure. And in some ways it is. But it’s also funny, camp, frivolous, sexy, and so highly skilled. People were talking about it all night when it showed at Jacksons Lane. Voguing meets electro-robotics in a feat of handstand endurance. I just wanted to see it again and again.”
Adrian Berry, Artistic Director Jacksons Lane 

“A total joy from beginning end. An utterly beguiling solo performance that combines extraordinary physical skill with an unforgettable performance. Life would be poorer without individual and maverick talents such as Natalie Reckert.”

Steve Cowton, The Lowry

Artist Biography

Natalie Reckert graduated in 2007 from the „National Centre for Circus Arts“ in London and undertook a study year at Visions in Motion dance school in Kassel in 2009. She has performed as a handbalancer in variety shows like GOP and has toured internationally as a performer with the Generating Company, Stumble Dance Circus and Sugar Beast Circus. She has collaborated with many leading artists in the field of contemporary circus including Finnish aerialist Ilona Jäntti, Collectif and then and film maker Mark Moreau. 

Natalie is also a well known handbalancing teacher with popular Youtube tutorials on how to learn a handstand. She currently writes her dissertation about the effects on upper body training on the body image of women in circus at the Humboldt University in Berlin.

No comments :

Post a Comment