Les 7 Doigts de la Main, Traces

Review in Issue 20-3 | Autumn 2008

Traces leaves other circus-theatre shows panting in the wings and looking on in envy. Les Sept Doigts de la Main are all ex-Cirque du Soleil – although none of this lot (four men, one woman) look old enough to be ex- anything and the skills level is what would be expected of that heritage. Breathtaking no-hands Chinese Pole; exhilarating acrobatics; basketball; skateboarding – it seems they can turn their hands, feet, torsos to anything. Give them an object and they will manipulate it with ease and grace. Give them a floor, a wall, a rope, and they'll go that extra mile.

But what is most wonderful is their rare understanding of circus-as-theatre: that theatre comes from what your body brings to that space and those other bodies in that space; that narrative means far more than just words telling a linear tale. Here, there is an overarching story – of growing up, forging identities, processing memories that builds in layers, allowing the audience to write the book rather than have the performers read it to them.

There's a lovely, minimal use of screen image (photos and home movies creating flickering traces of childhood selves). There's further a clever little device that I love – a way of acknowledging the dilemma of integrating audience response to circus tricks into the theatrical world created onstage: after each impressive trick or turn, they walk downstage as if to take a bow, then stop and look straight at the audience, then snap back into the stage world. Perfect.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Festival
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. May 2008

This article in the magazine

Issue 20-3
p. 31