Saturday, 20 May 2017

Zombie Dramaturgy: Thomas Gorham @ Edfrige 2017

Underbelly and Head First Acrobats present: 
Venue: The Beauty, The Underbelly Circus Hub, Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2017
Dates: Fri 4th August – Sat 26 August, (not 9th, 14th or 21st), 22.15pm

Thought science wasn’t sexy? Enter Elixir, making a killer return to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. With a potent mix of chemical balance and imbalance, new school death defying acrobatics, old school slapstick and an injection of Australian testosterone, Elixir will challenge perceptions and set pulses racing.

Elixir is circus with a difference! Uninhibited by cliché or expectation, subversive and hilarious, this all Australian production follows the story of three enthusiastic, slightly bumbling yet skilfully acrobatic scientists who attempt to create the elixir of life. 

The mayhem that follows is a beautiful mix of incredible acrobatics and impeccable comic timing. The scientists test their concoctions on themselves, and the madness that breaks loose in the laboratory is the perfect mix of amazing acrobatics, comedic misadventure and an engrossing narrative.

More than just jokes, thrills and spills, Melbourne based Head First Acrobats have re-crafted the smash hit 2016 show that sees them not only raise the dead but throw them, spin them and test whether zombies can bounce. 

Acrobats fly five metres into the air on the teeterboard, spin upside down on the mesmerizing cyr wheel, perform incredible one-arm handstands on wobbling canes and balance on nothing but their heads on the swinging trapeze. 

What was the inspiration for this performance? 
The zombie character was my (Thomas Gorham) show case piece at NICA for graduation. The concept of the show was originally a justification for having zombies - haha

Is performance still a good space for the public discussion of ideas? 
Performance is a great space for the public discussion of ideas. If something comes up that challenges you in some way, you’re unlikely to leave - it’s very easy to hit next on YouTube but you can't do that in the theatre - you have to get out of your chair to leave.
How did you go about gathering the team for it? 
Cal and I hit it off building a teeter board together, then we practiced some hand to hand and felt yeah we can do this. Rowan was in Cal’s year at school and had a great drunk clown piece that we felt suited the show, so we recruited him and have been working together ever since.
How did you become interested in making performance?
Break dance competitions were my first forms of performance. They were the original spark for me for moving in front of people. 
Is there any particular approach to the making of the show?
There is a lot of laughter and a lot of arguing and a lot of chaos. We seem to operate best in chaos.
Does the show fit with your usual productions?
Elixir was our first production, and has set the tone for our two follow up shows. Our childrens show, Arrr We There Yet, is also narrative circus and our cabaret show has some sexy comedy. 

What do you hope that the audience will experience?
Everybody leaves the theater with a genuine sense of joy and happiness. If this can continue, that is all I hope for.
What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience? 
We honestly were just being ourselves as entertainers, we are stupid and funny and can do insane stuff with our bodies; we just do it.

The three members of Head First Acrobats (HFA) are all graduates of the National Institute of
Circus Arts (NICA). Based out of Melbourne, the award winning entertainment company provide world-class circus and physical theatre performance. Elixir is the first show from the company which toured internationally in 2016 to sell out shows and rave reviews. Elixir was voted in the top 10 shows of Adelaide Fringe in 2015, and won the First and Foremost Entertainment award in its UK debut at Brighton Fringe 2015.

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