By R. Pikser
opened my eyes. They stopped my breath. They expanded my heart. I am more
alive because I sat for 65 minutes and drank them in.
the name of the Swedish circus company duo performing Attached, is a
witty, intertwined combination of the first names of the two performers, Magnus
and Manus, and the formation of the name hints at much about the nature of the
performance. It suggests imagination, thoughtfulness, humor, attention to
detail, and the combining of disparate elements into a different and larger
whole. It does not tell us about mastery of the body and the mind and sheer
Photos by Alex Hinchcliffe.
set, when one walks into the theater, appears simple. Some wooden boxes are
nested to stage right. There is a large metal quarter moon lying center
stage. There are some teeter totter- looking machines. Square white lights
are mounted all along vertical poles surrounding the playing area. Two very
serious, bearded men enter, one from each side of the stage, both dressed in
black jump suits. The come together downstage and confront each other. There
is a suggestion of danger. Then, as one is about to leave, they discover that
their arms are attached by the hook and loop material sewed all over the jump
suits. Clearly, they must separate themselves. And that is the beginning
because, of course, they keep getting stuck by other body parts once they have
worked one area free.
they finally separate, the audience is involved immediately as one person is
asked to give out some bright green tennis balls which, in a few minutes,
audience members will hurl at the large red X Magnus has stuck onto Manu. Some
balls stick; others don’t. No matter. The suits come off and the performers
start jugging with white balls and little tiny teeter totters, creating a
rhythm, later creating musical tones, accompanied by non-intrusive taped
percussion as they work, one at a time, together, interchanging. We have seen similar
things before, but not with the rhythm, and not with the same humor inviting
us to consider how everything they do is intertwined.
suits go on; they come off. Props seem to multiply and are thoroughly
explored. The boxes come out and are piled onto one another in various
configurations: They are places to balance; they are seats; they are jumped
onto and from; they are moved across the stage Manu as he stands atop them The
silver moon is a rocker; it is a way to roll the balls from one performer to
the other; it is a vaulting stage; it is a point to balance on. Mattresses are
brought into play, as is a sandbag and the teeter-totters from which the
performers propel themselves. Because the exploration of each of the props is
carefully constructed, either in complexity or in increasing danger, the
evening has dramatic dynamics built into it. As the show progresses to its
climax, all of the elements that have been introduced including the audience
members and the green tennis balls, are interconnected for one final, Rube
Goldberg set-up for one final magnificent trick.
says they want to spread happiness and inspire their audiences to follow their
own dreams. And they do. They show us that hard work can be fun and that
dedication is rewarding. They demonstrate that performance is for the pleasure
of both the performer, who strives for excellence, and the audience that
appreciates that excellence. This means not only bringing the occasional
participant up onto the stage, but more importantly, incorporating into the
show the emotions that we all share: fear, satisfaction, smugness, confusion,
triumph. Their concept is not that men can be consummate automatons; the
concept is that these men are human beings who are supremely alive, living at
the edge of danger with determination, but always with humor. They invite us
into their aliveness. These performers are teaching us about life.
years ago, Martha Graham, one of the founders of American modern dance, used
the analogy of the acrobat to describe the dedication of the dancer and of any
“In all of us who
perform there is an awareness of the smile which is part of the equipment, or
gift, of the acrobat. We have all walked the high wire of circumstance at times.
We recognize the gravity pull of the earth as he does. The smile is there
because he is practicing living at that instant of danger. He does not choose
have come full circle. Dance has all but ceased to look for meaning or have
the desire to communicate. The acrobats Magmanus show us that we can imbue
whatever we do with meaning if we choose to.
Attached by Magmanus
La Guardia Place