La Meute

La Meute: La Meute

La MeuteThe company of La Meute (French for The Wolfpack) parade on stage in towels wrapped around themselves folded as rather thick underwear. At first, it appeared to be an opening gag, but soon it became clear that these six daredevil acrobats were going to keep these padded undies around for the whole hour.

La Meute has a lot of fun toying with audience expectations. Early on they play with the possibility of missing. They set up acrobatic structures, and then they fall or miss. The concern from the audience is palpable until their misses become so theatrical that they are clearly on purpose. Toying with the audience doesn’t stop there, but continues as a theme in this playful, infinitely lovable show.

La Meute presents themselves simply on a nearly bare stage, nearly bare, and without the hyped atmosphere we see at most circus shows. This simplicity allows the company their full glory. This six-person company is multi-talented as acrobats, musicians, and comics. Throughout the show there is constant play with expectation, momentum, relationship, and danger in ways that few acrobats dare. La Meute doesn’t work through individual acts and disciplines, but rather presents an hour that is fluid, musical, hilarious, and edge-of-your-seat thrilling.

There is the simultaneous shock and brilliance of watching hand-balancing on a person’s face (and other uncommon regions), snapping towels (extra towels) while teetering on ladders, and hurdling through the air at what seemed to be higher heights than the top of the circus tent.

This is an amazing circus, and the show could stop there and be wildly successful. But where La Meute is devastatingly good is when one acrobat perfectly times a little shimmy in opposition to massive human tower, or when two performers play badminton over two others leaping and flipping on a teeterboard. These opposing images appear frequently, challenging the audience to absorb silliness and danger in single visual snapshots.

This unique circus of daredevil acrobats presents a welcome twist that is as unexpected as it is glorious.

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About Ezra LeBank

Ezra LeBank is the Head of Movement and Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts at California State University, Long Beach. He is recognized internationally as a specialist in biomechanics, partner acrobatics, contact improvisation and clown. He is the editor of the national periodical for the Association for Theatre Movement Educators ATME News. His book CLOWNS: In Conversation With Modern Masters is available from Routledge Publishing, UK.