Do any now dream of joining a "Cirque"? The prospect seems more daunting. The new brand of "Cirque-style production" is high concept as well as high altitude, and it requires highly skilled aerialists, contortionists and even motorcyclists to enact its high-risk scenarios, intended for adults as well as young people.
Arriving this weekend for a two-week residency at the
The company develops what Matorin calls "theatrical extravaganzas" in the manner of
In "Taganai," the lead character is a comedic painter, pulled through a picture frame into a hidden world of "dreamlike costumes and strange characters," where he encounters a naughty, pointy-eared elf who acts as his guide and various "ghosts" whose astonishing and seemingly death-defying antics make up the bulk of the show.
These include wire walkers, balance artists, contortionists and the motorcycle riders who race circles inside the so-called "Globe of Death," risking collision as their paths crisscross at ever-increasing speeds.
The narrative, obviously, is surreal. Said Matorin: "When people ask me for an explanation about what it means, I say, 'Well, what did you see?'"
More important, the athletic and acrobatic skill on display is entirely real, which makes it special in an age when most of the daredevil stunts audiences see, in the movies and on television, are computer-assisted illusions. The "Taganai" show employs more than 20 performers in its ballyhooed "multinational cast," which includes Armenians, Ukrainians, Russians, Spaniards, Portuguese and Americans.
Matorin, 49, describes himself as "a circus freak, let's put it this way." His parents performed with the Moscow Circus, so "I grew up in a circus atmosphere. It's kind of in my blood, my knowledge of this art."
Matorin worked as an aerialist with the Moscow Circus and then
Matorin said circuses and circus-type shows may be unusual in the U.S. but remain very active in
"Circus is always in a spiral; there are always ups and downs," he said. "It's hard to say if it's dying or progressing."
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