Two Argentine clowns to perform in Mumbai through mime, trapeze acts and music

Updated: Dec 09, 2017, 11:47 IST | Krutika Behrawala

Two Argentine clowns travel to Mumbai with a circus act to narrate a love story through mime, trapeze acts and music

Wearing a scarlet lipstick and rouge that highlights the features on her powdered face, Mariana Silva appears on the stage carrying a massive woodcutter’s saw. Except that it’s a prop and wobbles as the clown tries to hit Juan Cruz Bracamonte with it.

Juan Cruz Bracamonte and Mariana Silva in Mandragora Circus
Juan Cruz Bracamonte and Mariana Silva in Mandragora Circus

Dressed in a vibrant olive green suit and face paint used to exaggerate the eyebrows, he ducks and instead, pulls out a violin bow. Bracamonte uses the saw as an instrument and produces unheard-of notes, much to the audience’s amusement. Next, Silva reaches out for fabrics hanging from the ceiling and performs gravity-defying aerial acts as Bracamonte plays the accordion. As his face breaks into a wide smile, you can’t help but warm up to the clowns’ impeccable chemistry.

That’s because the artiste duo from Argentina has been performing together for close to 15 years, having premiered the show in Trelew back in 2003. They’ve travelled with it to 41 countries, including China, Egypt, France, Poland, Mexico, Jordan and Bosnia. Currently, on their month-long maiden trip to India, they will stage the show in Mumbai tomorrow.

Steeped in myth
Open to all ages, the 55-minute non-verbal performance is titled Mandragora Circus. The name is derived from the traditional plant associated with several myths, and a subject of many literary works. "The main myth is that the roots are shaped as humans and when you pull the plant out of the ground, their scream makes people fall in love. We chose it as the title since the show is a love story. Also, the smell of Mandragora’s leaves could rob people of their power of speech. It fits our non-verbal theme," says 35-year-old Silva.

Body talks
An amalgam of theatre and circus, the play’s narrative features a number of hilarious situations, expressed through mime, which reflect the relationship between two clowns. "Here, the clowns not only make you laugh but also take you on a journey of different emotions," informs 38-year-old Bracamonte, who took to music and acting at an early age. As a result, he decided to infuse the play with both recorded and live music. "We use unconventional instruments," he says, referring to the saw violin.

The show features various props like flowers, apples and bottles that the duo juggles with. Silva also brings the performance alive with acrobatic trapeze acts. The artiste, who was keen to join a circus since she was a child, shares, "I always related to dance, physical theatre and acrobatics as all of them use the body as a form of expression. Back then, I was told that you need to be born in a family of circus artistes to join one. Thanks to the new circus movement in Argentina [see box], I became a part of it."

Challenge hop
The duo underwent rigorous physical training to improve flexibility and hone their body language. "Being a non-verbal performance, it’s important to connect with the audience from the moment we appear on stage. So, we had to learn how to express not only through our bodies but also just through our faces. It has taken many years of experience to master the art," says Bracamonte. This has also helped the duo improvise on stage. "We just have to look at each other once to understand our next move," says Silva, adding, "Every audience is different, and you need to hear them to adapt to the energy of the show."

So far, the duo has received a positive response for their performances in Pune, Hampi and New Delhi. Silva says, "At some performances, we received a standing applause and some people even returned to watch it again."

On December 10, 12 pm and 5 pm
At Experimental Theatre, NCPA, Nariman Point.
Log on to bookmyshow.com
Cost Rs 354 onwards

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Circus in Argentina
According to Argentine professor Julieta Infantino's research on the contemporary history of circus arts in Buenos Aires, nomadic acrobats in the mid-18th century and then touring companies in the 19th century initiated the beginning of circus activities. However, it declined by the mid-1920s as it began to be considered a minor art, having to compete with Europeanised arts and later, with cinema, television and radio. It was in the post-dictatorial mid-1980s that circus activities were revived in the South American country. "The new circus movement included concepts like street shows and merged circus with theatre. Today, you find different kinds of circus shows," says Silva.

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