Modern circus take for Model Citizens

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For 35 years, Circus Oz has been putting up irreverent, death-defying rock n roll circus performances with their all-human ensemble. Now they are set to explode back onto the stage with a new director and new cast in their latest high-octane show Model Citizens. The show explores the idea of what it means to be a model citizen, with some distinctly Australian references. We thought Circus Oz Musical Director Ania Reynolds was the perfect person to give us the lowdown on just what makes this show different from the rest.

Model Citizens is the first Circus Oz show to be directed by new Artistic Director, Rob Tannion,” she explains.

“Rob has a background in contemporary dance and physical theatre, so there are significant elements of choreography and detailed movement in the show.

“There is also a lot of attention to visual detail – the show features an oversized model kit as the set, and larger-than-life everyday objects used as props, eg. giant underpants, a giant peg.”

Giant underpants are all well and good, but with the music forming such a crucial part of any Circus Oz performance, we wonder what’s changed in that department.

“Musically, rather than performing the score to the show entirely as a live band as in in previous years, this year we have incorporated pre-recorded elements of electronic music and sound design to augment the sound of the two-person band,” Ania explains.

“I would say that the score to Model Citizens has a more electronic aesthetic than that of previous years.”

A member of the Circuz Oz band since 2010 and Musical Director since 2014, multi-instrumentalist Ania is no stranger to the work involved in putting together a performance of this calibre. She likes to get started early on the show’s compositions.

“I find it is very useful to come into a creative development with a swag of pieces in various stages of completion,” she says.

“One of the reasons I enjoy composition work so much is that in a show like this you aren’t restricted to one particular genre, which gives you a vast range of musical styles and emotions to play with.”

Circus Oz doesn’t just mix things up musically. Though thoroughly modern in design and tone, the piece makes space for older and more traditional tricks, according to Ania.

“One of the interesting elements of the show is seeing traditional circus skills such as acrobatics and Chinese Pole being performed on un-traditional apparatus, such as giant pegs and safety pins. “

Ultimately, Ania expects every audience member to be able to take something away from the family friendly event.

“I hope that for some it will be moments of joy and humour,” she says.

“For others moments of beauty – and also that the notion of beauty will be different for everyone, that some will find moments that are raw or even somewhat grotesque just as beautiful as moments of breathtaking skill.”

Model Citizens is heading to The Arts Centre Gold Coast on Wednesday 10 May. Tickets at theartscentregc.com.au

Natalie O’Driscoll

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