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About the event
Ockham’s Razor return with their new show Tipping Point, winner of the Total Theatre & Jacksons Lane Circus Award at Edinburgh Festival 2016.
The five performers are enclosed within the circle of the stage, transforming simple metal poles into a rich landscape of images. Together they face a series of challenges as poles are balanced on fingertips, hung from the roof, swung, lashed, climbed up and clung to, the action veering from catastrophe to mastery.
Within this teetering world they push and support each other as they wrestle with the moment when things begin to shift. They must decide whether to rail against the chaos or ride it out, allowing life to tilt towards the tipping point.
Tipping Point features a multi-layered surround sound musical landscape especially composed by Adem Ilhan & Quinta who have previously worked with Philip Selway of Radiohead, Hot Chip and Bat For Lashes.
We caught up with Joint Artistic Director, Charlotte Mooney, to talk more about this exciting production.
Tell us a bit about your background and your role at Ockham’s Razor
I am one of the three Artistic Directors of Ockham’s Razor alongside Alex Harvey and Tina Koch – we all met while studying circus and physical theatre at Circomedia the school of contemporary circus and performance in Bristol. We have been devising, directing and performing our shows together for 14 years. Tipping Point is the first show where I am not performing – Tina and I were both pregnant during the creation so took the role of co-director.
How did you get in to aerial theatre?
Before Circomedia I had no experience of performing circus. I had been fairly seriously into ballet until I was 18 and then went to study English Literature at Sussex University. During my time there I discovered a passion for physical theatre. I also spent a year studying Chilean poetry at a University in Santiago, where there a floroushing contemporary circus scene and I saw some incredibly moving performances. After university I was all set to begin an MA in broadcast journalism when I heard about Circomedia , a school which trained you in circus and theatre and how to combine them. Almost overnight I changed plans and decided to try and audition. All my family thought I was nuts.
What is your biggest personal achievement to date?
I’m pretty proud of the way we managed to create such a large scale show as Tipping Point at the same time as having and raising two small children! Alex Harvey (the third Artistic Director) is my partner so in a year all 3 of us became first time parents and also created this new show. We managed by being really flexible and by thinking how it could be done with support so that we could be both parents and creators. Our children are now 2 and often out on the road touring with the show – Circus has always been an art form based in family. It seems this is often neglected these days even in the arts and I am proud that we have managed to make an alternative.
Where do you find inspiration?
All over the place! Our approach to work is very visual and we are often inspired by sculpture, paintings, fine art but also dance, theatre, poetry, bands, film. Often also what we read in the papers – the conversations that are happening around us, often the shows will reflect the world at the time we make it.
How did the idea for Tipping Point come about?
We had an image from another show that never got used of a long pole suspended in the middle where on one end was balanced a feather and on the other Alex. Because of the point of suspension they balanced perfectly. It was originally for a children’s show we wanted to make about physics. We never used the image but it stuck with us. When we came to begin thinking about a new show (that would become Tipping Point) we wanted to make a show in the round – there is something wonderful about an audience seeing a show in the round – it feels so much more human and warm – you see the reactions of the crowd around you. It’s great for circus and you feel closer to the action and the risk and danger feels more real : the performers are very vulnerable as they are literally surrounded. We realised that long poles as a piece of equipment would be wonderful for a show in the round – that they could topple and reach out over the audience, that they could spin and make a circle themselves. Also that they could be delicate, beautiful and also wonderfully chaotic and scary. Once we had a circle and poles and the idea of battling chaos we were on our way.
What challenges are there when putting on a production of this nature?
It’s a very technical show – we travel with a rig that we put up in each venue and travel with extra lights as lighting a show in the round and largely in the air is no mean feat. We have to have a technical rehearsal in each venue we travel to. As is usual with circus the performers are also involved in the rigging and set up which takes a full day. They have this on top of a very physically demanding show. It’s tiring. It can take it’s toll. They have incredible stamina.
What’s your favourite part of the show?
It changes. I am now quite busy directing other shows so sometimes I will not see it for a few performances and then come back in to watch it and take some notes and the show each time will have evolved. In order to keep it alive the performers constantly find new dynamics and new stories for themselves within it so that my favourite bits shift. I don’t think it’s ever been the same, which is wonderful.
What can audiences expect from Tipping Point?
It’s exciting, beautiful and funny – and I think moving, the word that came up time and again in the reviews and in audience feedback has been that it’s also magical – which is nice.
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