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Surplus de Cirque Review

A few weeks ago at the Fire-station Arts Centre in Windsor, Deej, our PE and Horticulture teacher, in conjunction with Windsor Tech (who provide our Technical Theatre course) produced a piece of theatre called Surplus De Cirque, and Lexie and Ash, (our Pupil Welfare Officer and Green Room LSA respectively) were among the stars of the show. Some of The Green Room pupils went to see the show and here is a review from one of them……

“Surplus de Cirque was held at the Windsor Fire-station Arts Centre on the 18th February and we arrived at the Fire-station after 7:30pm and went into Surplus de Cirque after 8:00pm. Surplus de cirque had hired out the fire-station and even had an amateur magician keeping everyone excited for the performance. The art form was a interactive promenade style performance and this was the first time I had ever seen or heard of this away from video games, It was a completely new experience.

I was lucky enough to know two of the actors in the performance as they were my teachers, I also knew the director and writer Daniel Jacobs (Deej) who just so happened to also be one of our teachers. He went through what it was about and gave us a insight into the performance. We were also showed a leaflet about the performance that you wouldn’t normally see which described most aspects of how it was made and and the general atmosphere of the play.

When we arrived at the performance we knew that it would be interactive and we would be walking through a set, we also knew that it was about a circus lion being killed however that was the extent of what we were told, however even this didn’t prepare me for the sight I was about to witness. For the first section I had to wear headphones till we were outside of the first room, I think this was to try and prepare us for the show as well as making sure the performers were ready. The first part of the play made me quite nervous as I wasn’t used to that much interaction from performers.

The interactive aspect of the performance wasn’t as much as I thought it would be. At some points it was almost like you were just an observer throughout it, instead of feeling like a part of the story. We were ushered along by someone who looked like a female clown however she didn’t say anything, that along with how the actor was playing her character meant that she had a creepy presence around her which I think is what they were going for.

When I saw the first interactive character many of us seemed very hesitant about interacting with him because it wasn’t clear if we were supposed to or not, in the end I interacted however I wasn’t sure whether or not I was supposed to because of the lack of clear questions directed at the audience. It was still a better experience then a normal theatre and I would go back if I had the chance, I felt like I had experienced more than a normal movie or play but in half the time as the entire thing lasted only around 20-25 minutes.

Out of the entire performance the only things that I can really think of that were bad was that it was unclear whether or not you were supposed to respond and interact with the cast, the almost blocky aspect of moving from scene to scene, and there wasn’t a lot of interaction between the actors in each of their respective performances, which could have been better, apart from that the actual play was really fun.

I would recommend it to anyone that hasn’t been in this type of performance before and would like to have a fun day out with the family or friends and doesn’t want to have to engage too much in the actual story line because it’s as if you’re being pulled through the story as well as interacting.

What I learnt from writing this review and viewing the performance:

This experience has taught me about what an interactive promenade is and what it’s like to experience one. It is almost like what the future of virtual reality software for gaming may become because you are experiencing it as if you were actually someone there. Although I expected more of an interactive style performance it was still a nice way to enter the world of interactive promenade. I definately prefer this to normal movies and theatre because of its interactive aspect to it. I know now the drama is as much about the story, props and set as it is the actors portraying it, and more about the actors than the set, the actors make the story come alive and really involve you in it and a good actor can make almost any play good.

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