Chicago Shakespeare. Created and performed by James Thiérrée.
JUST ENOUGH ROPE Thiérrée’s circus gets all tangled up.
If you were to draw an illustration of circus artist James Thiérrée, you have to do it in the form of a flipbook. That’s the only way you could capture the hummingbirdlike buzz of vibrating lines that make up his body’s motion. His frame radiates microwaves with such high frequency that you’re almost reminded of flickering early motion-picture celluloid; the mostly quiet Thiérrée is as alive onstage as any good silent film actor is alive in the frame. Although he would surely shy away from comparisons to his tramp grandfather Charlie Chaplin and other silent giants, he shares with them the ability to convey an entire journey with only his wordless body. Whether lip-synching wrenchingly to opera or hanging casually upside down from a ten-foot trapeze, Thiérrée’s always voluptuously sculpting his emotion in front of you.
But the artist’s tousled rubber body is only one part of his polyglot stage vocabulary. Using a deluxe but understated design team to explore a searching man’s journey (he’s after a girl, natch), Thiérrée plays on factory-size Rube Goldberg contraptions, gets entangled in miles of rope, fights enemies off with husks of grain from a harvest-peak field, all the while pulling clown surprises from a bag of tricks three times as deep as his arm is long. Yet for all its gasp-inducing flashes of visual thrill, much of Umbrella feels more like strong undertow than crashing white caps; there’s never a moment of quenching catharsis. But given his hypnotic, wavy-pencil-in-front-of-a-computer-screen stage energy, you wonder if he’s just testing to see if he can put us under with that alone. Even with all the bells and whistles at his disposal, he can.
— Christopher Piatt Read more: http://chicago.timeout.com/articles/touring-companies/24598/farewell-umbrella#ixzz0h4h7uqdr