Interview with Yaron Lifschitz, creator of Il Ritorno and Artistic Director and CEO of Australian company C!RCA.
TOHU: Il Ritorno is something completely new in the circus world. What inspired you to create such a unique piece?
Yaron Lifschitz: The circus is like a short-term memory culture—you see the trick and then it’s gone. You do a lot of work with your body, but you don’t engage in cultural conversations. But by blending contemporary circus, a Monteverdi opera and a story based on Homer, we’ve become part of that conversation. There’s a political dimension to the piece. It’s about displacement and people who can’t be with the ones that they love. That makes for a particular kind of resonance in the world at the moment.
TOHU: You’ve said that Il Ritorno uses deconstructed and stripped-back acrobatics. What meaning do you want to convey?
Yaron Lifschitz: Acrobatics by themselves convey a great deal, but it’s not often easily expressed. I like to think of our show as an attempt to inspire emotions that we don’t yet have a name for. It’s much more experiential than storytelling. This piece is about tragedy that unites us all, and acrobatics can convey that very strongly.
TOHU: Tell us a little about your company and the people behind it. What makes your team different?
Yaron Lifschitz: Artists don’t go into the circus because they want to be told what to do. I get the artists to embody, own and care about the things they’re trying to deal with—and then give them the tools to perform that. Our work is very simple. We improvise a lot on stage. Honestly, as a company the biggest thing we do is try not to work with jerks. When you have good people who are inspired to work their hardest, then you might just make something good.
TOHU: This isn’t the first time C!RCA has performed in Montreal. What are you looking forward to this time around?
Yaron Lifschitz: Montreal is a very scary place for us to perform. It is the home of new circus. Our work engages the audience in a rich conversation, and some love it while others don’t. That creates a real challenge for us. We have to be different every time we come. The great thing about TOHU is that it takes great risks in its programming—and our show is not an easy one. It has serious subject matter, opera… it’s challenging. I’m looking forward to bringing it to Montréal.