Hungary’s Recirquel to stage Budapest premiere of hit Edinburgh show “My Land”
From tonight, Budapest audiences can expect gravity-defying acts performed in their purest form, through physical feats of the body. Presented on the stage of the prestigious Müpa Palace of Arts are stunts by globally renowned company Recirquel, whose new ballet-like production “My Land” was top-rated by critics at the 2018 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. We talk to Recirquel founder and choreographer Bence Vági, who has taken acrobatics to new heights.
Performers in skin-tight unitards rise up from a dirt-covered set to share personal stories, their bodies contorted and biceps straining. What unfolds in front of the viewers appear as illusionary images combining light, shadow and reflection – nature’s elements. Tradition, freedom and love all form part of My Land, a real physical feat enacted by a team of Ukrainian artists to traditional Tatar and Moldavian music.
“Taking My Land to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this summer before its Hungarian premiere was a significant moment in the life of Recirquel,” begins Bence Vági, who formed this pioneering company in 2012 to perform at Sziget. “This cutting-edge show can’t be defined as pure circus or pure dance, but it works like a certain ballet act,” he continues, before admitting his initial doubts about how the performance would be received by the audience. “I thought people would either love it or hate it,” he says. “Then it ended up being the best-rated show by festival critics. I’m sure it will help Recirquel remain among the world’s leading contemporary circus companies.”
This major festival appearance was not the first time that Vági’s ensemble has enjoyed international success. After debuting at the Sziget Festival six years ago, this groundbreaking formation has pioneered Hungary’s contemporary circus scene and earned global fame. Recirquel have performed at prestigious locations such as the Tel Aviv Opera, key circus art hub La TOHU in Montreal and at the Palais des Festivals, venue for the Cannes Film Festival.
“It’s hard to believe that is has only been six years,” contemplates Vági. “It feels more like 16! During this time, Recirquel have achieved unexpected success and we are now among the world’s top ten contemporary circus companies.”
This increasing international presence leaves its mark on both the troupe and Hungary. “In the past three years, we have toured over 100 days each year, which means we sleep in a different bed every third night. That is hard, yet thrilling, as it gives us a chance to introduce a piece of the Hungarian culture and show the new face of circus all around the world.”
My Land is the fifth production in Recirquel’s oeuvre, defined by sold-out shows such as the hugely popular Night Circus, Naked Clown with its eye-opening monologues, the Paris de Nuit variety show, soulful Non Solus and Adieu!, a bittersweet love story that takes the viewer back to the early 20th century.
“Even just a single performance can trigger change in people and transform their perception of theatre in general, perhaps inspire a child to become a theatre director,” says Vági. “If our show brings people closer to theatre and circus, we have accomplished our mission.”
Vági is proud of the fact that the Recirquel company are pioneers in this contemporary approach to classic circus in Hungary, without completely breaking with tradition. “Circus is one of the most ancient art forms on the planet,” he explains. Its basics require the same high technical skills as dance. To move into new directions, you have to know the traditions, the essence of circus.”
As Vági points out, the contemporary circus phenomenon is not something that’s completely new. “What makes it different is that through this art, a new way has been found to the heart of people. Our company would like to touch the soul of every spectator and offer more than just pure amusement. Hearing about or seeing our shows, people want to discover Hungarian contemporary circus. This makes us Hungarians exist in the minds of many around the world.”
The show runs at Müpa Budapest every day from 16 to 19 October and on 21 October.
Recirquel Company Budapest