Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Absolutely - Flaming Locomotive (4 June 2014)

What makes a person decide to become a performer? What are the influences that shape that performer? How does an introvert become a clown in the world famous Cirque du Soleil? 

What does this all have to do with Vikings, cheese and vegemite sandwiches, and the Fosbury Flop?

Absolutely is the fascinating insight into the journey of Allan Girod from introverted grammar school boy to international performing artist.

What immediately grabs you is the intimate, stripped down nature of this one hour show. But show is probably the wrong word because even though there is a performer ‘on stage’ and symmetrically arranged audience members it felt more like a chat, as if Allan is talking only to you. He is a warm and generous storyteller who is candid, funny, insightful and reflective about key moments in his life. There is a genuineness and honesty here that is compelling but also a little mischief and gentle humour throughout.

I won’t go into the specific details of the journey – this is Allan’s story to tell and for an audience to discover and delight in – but it starts all the way back at his Year 10 social, takes us to his first job in the country, the exact moment of his epiphany about becoming a performer, to developing his first show, touring to Canada, and the Cirque du Soleil experience.

There are moments that will truly resonant if you have ever tried to create your own work, or stepped on a stage, or suffered the indignities of high school or indeed a job you weren’t suited for. There is the joy and amazement at revelations along the way as well as the decisions and sacrifices that have to be made. Then there is the perfect plan, tried and tested, for a certain computer strategy game. Trust me, this is important!

It is quite a remarkable story with a glimpse into the inner workings of the world renowned Cirque du Soleil only one of the highlights. Some of the quieter, more introspective moments are perhaps the ones that will linger with you longer.

There are three more shows 5th, 6th, 7th June, 8pm at Chrissie Parrott Arts in Maylands with proceeds going towards Allan touring the show to Edinburgh. There is also a crowdfunding campaign where public pledges are matched dollar for dollar by Creative Partnerships Australia and The Blue Room Theatre.

One of the motifs I will share is how Allan sensed the voices of all the artists who had performed previously at places like The Blue Room and how that spurred him on. Allan’s voice is now one of those that others might hear one day in Maylands, Edinburgh, and beyond.

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