Red Haired Men is a performance, interweaving the microproza (short texts) of Kharms, with elements of dance and ‘pratiques minoritaires’: circus, contortionism, puppet-theatre, magic and ventriloquism. Central characters will suddenly disappear in moments of comedic fairground illusion; prosthetics will allow bodies to contort into bizarre and stunning new forms; props and objects will be manipulated into a physically demanding new movement language.
This mingling of forms that are considered “high art” with those historically regarded as “just” entertainment will reflect the anarchic, polyphonic spirit of Kharms’ own work. The short texts mirror the rhythms of “low” performance practices such as circus or magic: they are brief, dense, virtuosic, sequential and often end with a ‘punch line’ – even a bewildering or confusing one. His texts hare highly performative. An essential element in the performativity of Charms’ work is “the incident” – a disruption that is both violent and wondrous.
The aim is to push magic and circus routines to such incidents: Charms himself also organized magic shows in which he drove his audience to near madness, playing with the energy of the expectation, tricks and abandonment. The idea of creating a rather long performance is to avoid an episodic structure with the audience feeling knocked from one text and movement vocabulary to another. We aim to create a coherent universe, a form of gesamtkunstwerk, a surprising world for the audience to inhabit.
In Circus Sjardam, prohibited by the Soviet censors, Charms resorted to children’s stories, poems and plays, his disruptive realist absurdism nevertheless stayed elementary, breaking conventional ideas of what “a show”, “a trick” are supposed to be. Red Haired Men takes as a challenge to perform a similar exercise: four performers trained in various (circus) disciplines explore the limits of their artistic forms: taking risks, including failure and reskilling in other practices such as performing texts.
More info: fransbrood.com/detail.php?prod_id=197 or alexandervantournhout.be/