News > Spoleto Review: Les 7 Doigts de la Main

“Damn. I need to work out.”

This was just one of many thoughts going through my head during Spoleto Festival USA’s fast-paced French Canadian troupe, Les 7 Doigt de la Main’s performance (translated as “the 7 fingers of the hand”). Their show, Traces, was, honestly, one of the most impressive things I’ve seen so far during this year’s festival.

gravity defying physical theatre acts by Traces' only female performer.

Placed in the “physical theatre” category, these performers/acrobats did things with their bodies I can only dream that my body could do. From walking up a vertical pole to spinning inside a metal circle to doing ground-swooping aerials to playing the piano and singing to literally jumping through hoops, I think I can accurately say that the entire audience was on the edge of their seats the whole time.

jumping through hoops

the spinning circle act

The troupe did a great job of connecting with the audience too by giving us small, but effective, pieces of information about each character. This created a unique personality for each of them–the flirty one, the clumsy one, the romantic one, the cool one, etc–and making them more approachable and friend-like. For example, when “the romantic” one did his extremely physically challenging aerial performance and then was immediately given a guitar and told to sing a love song by the others, the audience got emotionally invested–first somewhat sympathetic, and when he finished the song, the audience was clearly even more impressed. ┬áThe only female in the show was really spectacular as well. She was of petite build but absolutely held her own in all of the physical feats that the men performed. Her chair/book reading performance was adorable.

I’d be amiss if I didn’t mention the set, music, and cameras as they played a significant role in the atmosphere. The set resembled an old warehouse type of place with rags on the walls and just the most basic pieces of furniture. It conveyed a locale where the inhabitants didn’t have much money, very true to real cabaret performers. Apart from the actual physical acts which blew my mind, my second favorite part of the show was definitely the music and the cameras. Almost all the music had a fast, heart-beat type of sound to it that probably raised everyone’s heart rates just by itself. I mean this in a very positive way. I absolutely loved the music. It made me want to attempt those physical feats myself. Ha! The cameras were a fun and inventive addition, especially Camera #3, which appeared during the latter half, adding an interesting angle. The cameraman was filming live from above the performers. The live video was then streamed onto the back of the stage so the audience could see the live video behind the performance that was currently taking place. Gosh. That’s a bit challenging to explain. You need to go see it for yourself.

Les 7 Doigts de la Main’s Traces has been so popular that an additional performance was added for this Friday afternoon. There are also several more days of their show–some days twice a day! After seeing it, I don’t even know how they do that twice in one day! I think these folks might really have 7 fingers on each hand. If you’re on a budget and are choosing to see only one Spoleto event this year, make it this one. There’s no way you can be disappointed. Buy tickets on the Spoleto site.

 

 

Posted on June 7, 2012 by admin.

Categories: Performing Arts

Tags: Aerial, Cabaret, Les 7 Doigt De La Main, Les Sept Doigt De La Main, Physical Theatre, Spoleto, Spoleto Festival Usa, Traces

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