The Centre for Creative Collaboration
16 Acton Street, London WC1X 9NG
Presented by the Centre for International Theatre and Performance Research,
Royal Holloway, University of London
Reuniting two of the most potent forces on the international performing arts scene today, Cirque du Soleil and the director Robert Lepage, TOTEM will surely make headlines when it plays London’s Royal Albert Hall in January-February 2011. While most of Cirque’s productions are a series of acts united around a central theme, TOTEM – revealing the influence of Lepage, renowned as ‘master storyteller’ (The Toronto Sun) of the stage – aspires to recount an ambitious narrative: nothing less, in fact than the evolutionary ‘journey of the human species from its original amphibian state to its ultimate desire to fly’. The production charts a forward movement through time, from acrobats dressed as reptiles and amphibians through to a cosmonaut-themed Russian bars act – with Charles Darwin appearing as a character along the way. Its delivery of this unusual intercultural vision, via highly-skilled circus acts and a lavish staging, invites expert analysis.
This international colloquium brings together performance scholars from a variety of backgrounds and approaches to place TOTEM in context, and to analyse its meanings. In its address of the popular live entertainment phenomenon that is Cirque du Soleil, the event will advance and broaden existing dialogues on intercultural theatre, indigeneity and performance, and the effects of globalization on performance practices.
‘Cirque du Soleil: The ethos of staging the individual of exception.’ Prof. Louis Patrick Leroux, Departments of French and English, Concordia University, Montréal; and director of the Working Group on Cirque du Soleil at Concordia’s Centre for the Interdisciplinary Studies in Society and Culture
‘Images of indigeneity in Robert Lepage and Cirque du Soleil’s TOTEM’. Dr. Karen Fricker, Department of Drama and Theatre, Royal Holloway, University of London
Q&A with Melanie Lalande, the artistic director (touring creative director) of TOTEM for Cirque du Soleil.
PANEL DISCUSSION responding to the production, including Prof. David Mayer, Department of Drama, University of Manchester; Dr. James Reynolds, Department of Drama, Kingston University; and Dr. Helen Stoddart, Department of English, University of Glasgow.
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