The Montreal circus collective Les 7 Doigts transcends, even multiplies realities these days with its new show “Carry Me Home”, presented in its studios on Saint-Laurent Boulevard.
This new piece can be followed in theaters, listened to from just about anywhere on the planet thanks to its live transmission, but also experienced from the very head of the creator, Didier Stowe. This option basically requires a virtual reality headset.
For the premiere of the show – which is incidentally quite short, 40 minutes at most – presented in Montreal last Thursday, the QMI Agency tested the experience in parallel reality in addition to attending the indoor show.
Still in lab mode, the augmented reality experience – co-produced with Vancouver-based motion capture firm Shocap Entertainment – immerses us in a beautiful world, where fine sand dunes and the “golden hour” envelop, waiting for the show to begin. An ocean with a few islets-rocks is also visible, but the huge brain that sits in this desert is the element that attracts the most attention. It is in this environment that will also articulate the circus made up in concert of music.
When the show starts, you are teleported inside, where in an empty room – which must have been full, the multiplayer mode was not activated for the first time – there is a stage with screens that broadcast what is happening. passes in front of the hundred spectators gathered in the basement. At any time, one can walk in the environment, around or below the brain. We are even transported above for certain numbers, while the northern lights have settled in the sky. The indoor audience can have access to this invented world via the projections on the screen at the back of the stage.
For the first painting – after a presentation of the artist and an endless quiz – Didier Stowe takes us with him back to his childhood. While the spectator finds himself standing on a quay, the trampolinist, guitar in hand, sings in a boat his first piece “Carry Me Home”. On dry land, a green lawn is the playground of two young boys (virtual reality avatars, circus artists equipped with sensors under their gray jumpsuits, in reality) who have fun and indulge in a few pirouettes.
For the rest of the numbers, the QMI Agency has swapped its virtual reality helmet for a stool in the world of mortals.
An exhilarating aerial strap number, where the contortionist was tied to it by her hair, and another – both breathtaking and touching – aerial hoop, which turned into a duet at the end of the one, awaited us, while the singer-songwriter sang his last piece “Hard to find”.
During the show, the trampolinist plays the piano, the guitar, dances and exercises his discipline while singing.
A wooden staircase, with a trampoline installed at its foot, occupied part of the stage while the other decorative elements were removable.
In general, the virtual and augmented reality experience is interesting. This is an excellent idea on paper and an original way to democratize the circus, to live an extraordinary experience and to deinstitutionalize this form of art, but in practice, it remains a “gadget” at the thank you for the “bugs” and “lags”.
“Carry Me Home” is presented in the studios of Les 7 Doigts, in Montreal, Friday and Saturday, indoors and in virtual reality, and will be accessible from a computer or any other connected screen.
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“Carry Me Home” by the 7 fingers: circus in plurireality
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