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Cal Performances 7 Fingers Reversible 2 1 E1551573507957

Les 7 Doigts (The 7 Fingers) – Reversible

above: Pictured: The 7 Fingers perform Reversible Friday–Sunday, February 22–24, 2019 in Zellerbach Hall.
Shown – Julien Silliau doing German wheel. (credit: Courtesy of The 7 Fingers)
Pictured: The 7 Fingers perform Reversible Friday–Sunday, February 22–24, 2019 in Zellerbach Hall.
Shown – Maria Del Mar doing handstand. (credit: Courtesy of The 7 Fingers)

Reversible is the latest production from Canadian Circus Arts Troupe The 7 Fingers, aka Les 7 Doigts, directed, written and choreographed by Gypsy Snider, and produced by Cal Performances at UC Berkeley. Based in Montreal, this award-winning contemporary circus troupe of international performers from Spain, Canada, USA, France and Switzerland bring zest and excellent skills to a refreshed version of theatrical circus. Snider is originally from San Francisco and grew up in the well-known Pickle Family Circus, founded by her parents.

It’s based on an exploration of ancestors, roots, rootlessness and actual family histories of the performers, who conducted interviews with relatives to mine Reversible’s foundation and the through line narrative. Told through acrobatics, aerial stunts, juggling, flashes of spoken word, music and choreography, Snider has woven a fascinating and meaningful quest into the self and how one’s background is reflected in the present.

Pictured: The 7 Fingers perform Reversible Friday–Sunday, February 22–24, 2019 in Zellerbach Hall.
Shown – Julien Silliau and Émilie Silliau. (credit: Courtesy of The 7 Fingers)

This iteration of The 7 Fingers contemporary circus production is creative with a different look. Skills and acts that you may have seen before have been unpacked and recreated through physical storytelling that involves the ensemble of eight in combinations that not only support the performer’s specific skill but also create a fascinating mise en scene, by Snider.

A versatile set consists of a line of simple houses with doors and windows. Immediately the houses reveal performers leaping in and out of windows, balancing on rooftops, springing out of doors and back again. Each speaks briefly about their families into a microphone and engage with each other. Doors are slammed – and electronic music with a pulsating mix of jazz, classical, modern and ethereal abstract sounds plays throughout the show (Original lyrics & music, sound design, and music arrangements: Colin Gagné, in collaboration with Raphaël Cruz, Ines Talbi, and Dominiq Hamel).

Non stop scenes appear and melt away seamlessly in a visual and thrilling treat! Interesting acrobatics off the walls, a fast stepping man in black, a very bendy woman, a folding bed, a skateboarder – hats and more – populate this imaginative world.

Two people interact saucily as she sits on his shoulders in a humorous and emotive acrobatic scene. Objects are brought to life off the walls – the scenes merge and blur into new and exciting imagery –before you know it a new act begins. Walls open up to create retro looking living rooms (set & props by Ana Cappelluto) populated by a quirky ensemble of characters and performers doing aerial feats, juggling, and physical acting.

Pictured: The 7 Fingers perform Reversible Friday–Sunday, February 22–24, 2019 in Zellerbach Hall.
(credit: Courtesy of The 7 Fingers)

Les 7 Doigts is a tight, well-trained ensemble – performing Snider’s inspired and detailed choreography with expert physicality and timing.

Moody lighting by Yan Lee Chan is bright, then sharp and tightly focused, or warm shadows, favoring darker edges of the large stage space. Costumes by Geneviève Bouchard combine a variety of everyday clothing – shorts, leggings, skirts and more, in a wonderful nostalgic limited color palette that adds to the atmosphere and visual storytelling.

Snider and her creative team – and eight performers (Maria del Mar Reyes Saez, Vincent Jutras, Jérémi Lévesque, Natasha Patteron, Jugo Ragetly, Émilie Silliau, Julien Silliau, Emi Vauthey) have created a fun, fast moving, stylish and entertaining show that is not to be missed – Highly recommended!

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Jo Tomalin, Ph.D. reviews Dance, Theatre & Physical Theatre Performances
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