‘Humans 2.0’ was mind-blowing.
The human body is an incredible thing. From bones that are stronger than steel, eyes that capture the world through a 576-megapixel lens, or the human heart that can synchronise its beat to the music around; humans are made up of magical things.
After wowing audiences around the globe for more than two years with their internationally acclaimed show, ‘Humans,’ the team from Circa have returned home to deliver the next jaw-dropping instalment of the same series, ‘Humans 2.0.’ Building on its earlier incarnation, ‘Humans 2.0’ is an even deeper exploration of the power, uniqueness and sheer brilliance of the human body.
On the show, Director Yaron Lifschitz says, “Let’s see ourselves as a hurly-burly of energy, a glorious soup of possibility. Let’s think of ‘human’ not as a noun, but rather as a kind of verb. ‘Humans 2.0’ is inspired by this verbness.”
The show opens with ten bodies appearing on stage in a flash of blinding white light. They are still. Motionless. Slowly, they start moving, rolling around the stage. Their pace picks up. Energy levels are rising, like atoms smashing against each other to form the big bang. Human towers start growing as bodies move in formation, around a circle of white light, like the hands of a clock. The verbness, the uncontrollable energy that makes up the human body explodes on stage as bodies are thrown and caught in towers that rise and crumble. It is evolution in motion. ‘Humans 2.0’ is a unique performance that blends the strength, flexibility and balance of cirque-performing, with the grace and beauty of ballet; ringing bells of similarity from Queensland Ballet’s latest instalment of ‘Bespoke’.
Paul Jackson’s dramatic lighting reveals both the chaos and the beauty of the human body in motion. Through strobe effects and key lighting, he reveals what Lifschitz wants us to focus on and hones in on the dramatics unfolding on stage. When combined with the original score of hypnotic synth music by Ori Lichtik, the audience is left almost in a trance. It is this perfect blend of light (captured through 576 megapixels) and music (synchronising with the beating of the heart) that makes ‘Humans 2.0’ such a powerful and emotional piece of work. It is also through the complete lack of set that draws the audience so deeply into the performance. There is literally nothing to focus on but the performers and their rhythmic motions. You are completely emerged in their story.
Everything mentioned above though, is, of course, designed to emphasise the sheer brilliance of the eleven-strong cast of incredibly talented cirque performers. Featuring a host of internationally acclaimed acrobats, the level of skill on display was beyond the scope of what should be humanly possible. The main themes of life in motion and the chaotic energy of the human body were carried beautifully through each routine and the transitions between different segments flowed well. The performers shifted seamlessly from themes of extreme chaos and energy to those more subtle elements of growth and evolution.
Human towers, two or three high, were constantly constructed as acrobats were flung through the air and caught atop them. As quickly as these towers rose, just as quickly did they crumble, tossing bodies across the stage to be caught in daring style. From the high flying antics to the muscle control and strength of body wrapping, every element of the show was executed with near perfection (save a few minor slips). Acrobats threw themselves through the air in near slapstick fashion, sometimes being caught in the knick of time, and sometimes being left to fall to the ground – life is not always fair.
What really stood out throughout tonight’s performance was the strength and control of the entire cast. There was no division between man, woman or otherwise; just pure human strength working together like clockwork with all performers providing lifts and being lifted in return.
A single cast member cannot be called out as being the standout and it would be unfair to mention one, without mentioning them all. Despite coming from a range of backgrounds and having a varying level of prior professional experience (from Cirque Du Soleil, coming from a circus family, to freshly out of high school), they worked together like peanut butter and jelly to create a pure circus masterpiece.
We were promised a celebration of what it means to be human, and Circa’s performance well and truly delivered. ‘Humans 2.0’ was a beautifully executed collaboration of eleven of Australia’s most talented circus performers under the guidance of one of its’ most awarded cirque directors. Pure brilliance – it is a show that should not be missed.
‘Humans 2.0’ performs until Saturday, 20 November at the Playhouse Theatre, QPAC. For more information visit QPAC’s website.
Photography by David Kelly and Pedro Greig.