Can we be too pathetic, too clumsy, too idiotic, too unstable, too needy... to be loved?
What is the price to pay not to be left behind?
What are we ready to accept in others?
Photo: Bernard Boccara
WHY SHOULD I SUPPORT YOU? WHAT MAKES PERSONA SO SPECIAL?
Persona is a theatrical circus show, a dance on the floor and in the air. The show is both a praise to vulnerability and a call for connection. In Persona we bounce on the C.G. Jung’s theory of the persona/shadow as a way to dive into human vulnerability.
From the floor to the air, the multilayered world of Persona is one where the soul turns upside down and back to front as instinct rises.
Twisting bodies inhabit the ground through contortion, handbalancing and acrodance, as heights are taken by hair-suspension and vertical rope. On the stage, the imposing structure of a 6 meters long semi-pendular Chinese pole creates a space of conflict and an opportunity for closeness. Our four characters navigate these spaces alone and together, often depending on each other. This swinging motion between solitude and collaboration creates the dance that makes Persona a piece about singularity as much as community.
Photo: Bernard Boccara
The show starts from a seemingly innocuous, every day scene that explodes and spreads; the audience is invited to look closely and see the cracks in the characters and their relations. We encourage the spectator to travel into their inner worlds, hearts and minds and discover their true natures as they come afloat, sometimes softly, sometimes violently. We portray these four individuals with both humor and solemnity. Flawed and puzzled, fragile and brave, we let their stories unfold and get tangled as they are left with nothing else but themselves and the others.
Photo: Fabienne Antomarchi
WHAT THE PRESS HAS SAID ABOUT US
"I see four highly-trained bodies embrace the space, own the space, using the floor, the air, their own and other’s bodies, the equipment. I see circus tricks and turns – Chinese pole, contortion, hair-hanging, acrobalance – but more, much more. I see the playing out of female identity and human relationships; I see an exploration of the joys and challenges of circus; I see and feel and respond to the humour in the game-playing we are offered, and the observation of what it is that makes us human.
Persona is a superb piece of contemporary circus-theatre, exploring identity, challenging gender stereotypes, and celebrating femininity in all its complexity. The circus skills are top-notch; the scenography and theatrical staging of those skills inventive; and the onstage combination of all elements of sound, image and physical action carefully thought through – although by no means a linear narrative, Persona has a dramaturgical logic which is pleasing: it is far more than the sum of its very able parts. The piece was created collectively by the four women performers, joined offstage by director/dramaturg Virginie Strub." Excerpt of Dorothy Max Prior's article talking about Persona's long form - Total Theater - November 2018
“The dimension of pain is more explicit in Persona, a 20 minute circus show presented by Naga Collective, that puts on stage four women looking to come to terms with, on one side, their bodies, and on another, with themselves. With a simple scenography, created mainly with ropes and handbalancing cannes, bodies separate, twist, are subjected to unbearable torments. They suffer, each in its own way, and express through risky acrobatic movements: bending their backs, holding upside down from a rope, being dragged through stage, falling to get back up... The pain continues until the moment where the four bodies learn to connect, get together and fusion.”
Excerpt of Diana Tass’ article talking about Persona’s short form- Blog Le Suricate - March 2017
Photo: Thor Hauknes
WHO ARE WE?
Naga Collective is a Belgian company founded by four artists graduated of the Lido de Toulouse and ESAC in Brussels: Norwegian fearless strongwoman Mari Stoknes, Italian hurricane of optimism Viola Baroncelli, Finnish sassy freak Jatta Borg and Mexican geek with attitude María José Cázares.
Though our roots are multiple, Naga Collective embodies the spirit of Brussels, where most of our team is based; plural, mixed and vibrant, it is a melting pot only strengthened by the diversity in its heritages and the backgrounds of its members.
Our goal is to create a sensitive, explorative kind of circus, one that enters dialogue with other artistic forms and allows us to twist and rediscover our own disciplines and reinvent our work. We aim to create projects that can travel beyond borders and are both bold and playful.
Hence our name.
Inspired by the Spice Girls and the naga jolokia pepper, our name emphasizes our will to defy, mock and rebel against the myth that female artists necessarily speak about femininity, and feminine collectives are automatically “girly”.
Photo: Thor Hauknes
Conception, creation and performance : Viola Baroncelli, Jatta Borg, Maria José Cázares & Mari Stoknes
Dramaturgy and mise en scène : Virginie Strub
Artistic collaborators : Joris Baltz, Chloé Beillevaire, Sara Lemaire, Catherine Magis, Hanna Filomen Mjåvatn
Set design and construction: Virginie Strub & Viola Baroncelli
Costume creation and design: Eugénie Poste.
Light design: Jere Mönkkönen
Music and sound design: Iannis Héaulme
Rigging manager : Mari Stoknes
Stage technician: Jere Mönkkönen or Virginie Strub
Administration, Production and Communication : María José Cázares
Diffusion : Espace Catastrophe / Thomas Steygers
Production : Naga Collective, TRABEM asbl
Associated production : Espace Catastrophe - Centre International de Création des Arts du Cirque (BE)
Coproduction : Maison de la culture de Tournai – Centre Culturel Transfrontalier (BE) // CAS Centre des Arts Scéniques (BE) With the support of: Service du Cirque, des Arts forains et de la Rue, Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles (BE) // Fond National Pour la Culture et les Arts - FONCA (MX) Partners: Centre Culturel Wolubilis (BE) // Latitude 50 - Pôle arts du cirque et de la rue (BE) // Théâtre 140 (BE) // Espace Catastrophe (BE) // Cité Culture (BE) // La Grainerie - fabrique des arts du cirque et de l’itinérance (FR) // Festival Internacional de Circo y Chou - FiCHo (MX) // Airesis (MX) // AgriSirkus (FI) // ILES Artist Project (BE) // Théâtre National - Festival XS (BE) // Bureau International Jeunesse – Programme Artichok (BE) // Cracovia 32 (Mx) // Cirko de Mente (MX) // ITESO (MX) // Zinneke asbl (BE) // CIRCollaborative Tools
Acknowledgements : Christophe Wullus, Pauline Hervouet, Julia Emmery, Fabienne Antomarchi, Tom Lacoste, Bernard Boccara, Toivo Kautto, Justine Saur, Valpuri Kaarninen, Erik Glas & Jaimee Allen.