On The Fringe #10
Written by Denyse Terry
PLAY: Everlasting Slumber
COMPANY: Hercinia Arts Collective
DETAILS: Written and directed by Emily Hughes, Kirsten Harvey, Jasper Empson, Molly Keczan. Music by Waylen Miki
LOCATION: Citadel Studio
SCHEDULE: Fri. July 19, 11:00pm; Sat. July 20, 8:30pm; Sun. July 21, 1:00pm; Tue. July 23, 9:30pm; Fri. July 26, 5:00pm; Sat. July 27, 6:30pm; Sun. July 28, 3:00pm
Aerial silk performances are gaining in popularity – and for good reason. They are spectacular. The performance involves artists who – without the use of safety lines – climb, wrap, suspend, swing and drop from silks, spiraling their bodies into and out of various positions. The creative folks at Hercinia Arts Collective are bringing their silks and hoops, their ropes, dance, puppets, and animation to deliver a dramatic fairy tale at this year’s Fringe. Their show, Everlasting Slumber, “a storybook come to life,” is about a little boy who gets lost in an enchanted dream-world.
Two-time Dora award winner Waylen Miki is the music man behind the original show, which is light on dialogue but bursting with movement. Created by Kirsten Harvey, Molly Keczan, Jasper Empson and Emily Hughes, with puppetry and projected animation by Hamiltonian Evan DeRushie, the group says that it is an all-ages show. “The adults come for the ‘wow’ factor and are intrigued by the theme and metaphor. Kids love it because of the fairy tale aspect.”
“We do deal with grief, and the adults will get that, but it’s not so obvious to the kids, they aren’t hit over the head with it.” When the show debuted in London last year, kids as young as four filled the seats and, “…they were engaged, happy, excited, asking questions – it was great!” says Keczan.
“I would encourage everyone to see this piece because it is so inventive and because this group is exploring the idea of what constitutes theatre.” Lesleigh Turner, beat magazine, 2012
Performer and co-creator Keczan grew up in Beamsville, Ontario and was a member of the Hamilton Ballet Youth Ensemble in 2013 dancing at the Hamilton Conservatory for the Arts. A Ryerson graduate, she was drawn to aerial work because it combines dance and gymnastics.
Hughes started in circus at age 8, and now teaches everything from aerial to acrobat, trampoline, juggling, and tight ropes. Harvey, originally from Vancouver Island, spent three years in dinner theatre, then Ryerson, then hoola-hooping because, well, why not? Now a teacher of hoops, Harvey says she gets pure enjoyment and, “learns something everyday” from the children she works with.
A Collective since 2009, Hercinia Arts performed the aerial theatre children’s show, “Gurgle, Splash!” at the Hamilton Art Gallery’s family fun day in 2011. Together with Natalie Parkinson, Hughes and Keczan wanted to use the collective to explore new ways to combine the physicality of circus with the theatrics of storytelling. “Circus connects people to their childhood. We are turning fantasy into reality.” says Keczan.
Their home base is a bit of fantasy turned reality by itself. Three of them live upstairs from their charming studio. Coming down the stairs every morning to their rehearsal and work space, complete with silks and hoops and more, their kitchen counter over-flows with specialty teas and welcoming mugs.
The idea for Everlasting Slumber started with a talk about fairy tales. “We wanted to use silks to tell a story, not just perform tricks.” Says Hughes, “There is a shift beginning, in the world of circus – a shift away from the razzle dazzle shock value, ‘spectacle’ kind of circus… and the beginnings of using circus as a tool, as a physical language that communicates an idea or story to an audience.”
“Circus in general is having a bit of a revival. Hooping is booming! People are doing it for exercise and to have fun. They’re more conscious of their bodies and health and want things that are good for their soul too.”
The Citadel show is your one and only chance to catch Everlasting Slumber; Hamilton is Hercinia Art’s sole stop on the Fringe Circuit. They have made a few changes since its London opening, “It’s deeper, there’s more character development, and we’ve all developed more as artists.” Says Hughes, “It is difficult to convince people to widen their views of what theatre, dance and circus can be, but we, along with a growing contemporary circus community in Ontario, are trying. And taking this show to the Fringe is a big part of that. We hope that people will come and challenge their notion of what theatre can be.”
It’s your last chance to play WTH? !! Win two tickets to Everlasting Slumber by guessing correctly Where The Heck in Hamilton this picture was taken. There’s a clue in the story… Send your guess with your phone number to firstname.lastname@example.org. See you at the Fringe! And the contest is closed! Joe Mielko wins 2 tickets to Everlasting Slumber. Congratulations Joe!
On The Fringe is written by Denyse Terry
Denyse is a local freelance writer.
A Fringe volunteer for the past 5 years, she has served as a member of the Board of Directors since 2011.
Her short story ‘Boom’ has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize: